A federal appeals court has ruled that Wisconsin’s law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a local hospital—effectively and deliberately shutting down clinics in the state—is unconstitutional, reports the Associated Press.
2013 Wisconsin Act 37 was enacted in July of 2013, and while it is purportedly designed to serve the safety and peace of mind of women seeking abortions, its real purpose is to make getting an abortion as grueling and inconvenient as possible. Section 2 includes the infamous “informed consent” provision, which requires that pregnant women receive an ultrasound prior to the procedure. Section 9 explicitly allows the “grandparents” of the “unborn child” to sue the abortion provider for “emotional and psychological distress.” Act 37 is a bullcrap law.
The law also said that all abortion providers must have admitting privileges at a hospital “within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is to be performed.” Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services—two organizations who provide abortions in Wisconsin—sued the state, arguing that this particular provision “amounts to an unconstitutional restriction on abortion.”
In a statement, Planned Parenthood said only four health centers provide abortions in Wisconsin. If the law took effect, the group said, the largest of those centers would be forced to close immediately, leaving the remaining three unable “to absorb the unmet need.”
The group argued that would amount to restricting access to abortions in Wisconsin. State attorneys contended the mandate will ensure continuity of care for women hospitalized with abortion complications.
Judge Richard Posner told the state there was no rational basis for the law, saying it didn’t provide any health benefits for women seeking abortions and was clearly designed to close abortion clinics.
Judge Daniel Manion noted that complications could arise from abortions carried out through medication that women take at home. In those instances, complications could occur 100 miles or more away from the hospital where the doctor who gave her the medication has admitting privileges, he said.
The third judge on the panel, David Hamilton, questioned how the state could suggest it was acceptable for women to travel to Chicago or Minneapolis if the law forced the Milwaukee clinic to close.
The Journal Sentinel reports that a spokesperson for Governor Walker says the state intends to appeal. In the meantime, the ridiculous informed consent provision is apparently still law. The AP says Wisconsin’s now-blocked law and other, similar laws that have been blocked in other states “may ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.”