The same week that it was announced the only clinic providing abortions in Green Bay, Wisconsin,
would be closing
its doors, U.S. District Judge William M. Conley extended a temporary injunction
Friday blocking implementation of a state law
, Act 37, that requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within a 30-mile radius. The injunction will remain in place until the outcome of a lawsuit against the act brought against the state by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services. The lawsuit is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 25.
The judge had previously cited Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey, a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that abortion regulations must not place an "undue burden" on women or make abortions more difficult for them to obtain:
Most telling of all is defendants’ inability—despite repeated opportunities and prompting by this court—to provide a single example of the recognized importance of local admitting privileges for any other clinical or outpatient procedure than abortion anywhere in Wisconsin, and not just by a governmental entity, but by any medical group or society. The reason for this would appear obvious: were a procedure sufficiently dangerous as to require, or even have a substantial risk of hospitalization, it would likely be performed in a hospital. The fact that procedures demonstrably more dangerous (by a factor of ten or more) including procedures requiring general anesthesia, are performed in outpatient facilities underscores defendants’ present failure, and likely inability, to meet their burden of proof that a reasonable relationship exists between admitting privileges and continuity of care.
In his first imposition of the injunction July 8, Conley wrote
: "If the act's admitting privileges requirement is enforced, there will be no abortion providers in the state of Wisconsin north of Madison and Milwaukee. [...] This court's review of the limited legislative history of the act does not reveal any medical expert speaking in favor of the act or otherwise articulating a legitimate medical reason for the admitting privileges requirement."
Similar laws have been blocked by state or federal courts in Alabama, Mississippi and, most recently, North Dakota pending the outcome of lawsuits. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed an abortion bill last month that, among other things, imposes an admitting privileges requirement. But, as in the other states that have passed such laws, that one will surely be challenged.
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