Wisconsin Abortion Law Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Says

Wisconsin Abortion Law Unconstitutional, Federal Appeals Court Says
Anti-abortion protest at Planned Parenthood Fibonacci Blue / Flickr CC BY 2.0

A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that a Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 kilometers is unconstitutional.


Support for the law came in the form of a claim that it provides continuity of care. Those opposing the law say that there is no public health value to it and that it will only lead to the shuttering of more clinics. In March, U.S. District Judge, William Conley, supported the stance of the abortion providers, saying no legitimate health interest was served by the law. An appeal was later made to the 7th Circuit by the Wisconsin Department of Justice.

In a major abortion case taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month, abortion providers in Texas challenged state requirements that require them to get hospital privileges and expensive surgical amenities, as reported by Reuters.

Judge Richard Posner, writing for the 7th Circuit majority, said that the law would protect women’s health “nonexistent.” He added that more women waiting for abortions would elevate the scope of danger, something that could make procedures progress into second trimester. “What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women’s health — and the abridgement challenged in this case would actually endanger women’s health,” he wrote.

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Judge David Manion, on the contrary, said that the law in fact protected women’s health. “The solution to the plaintiffs’ problems is that they find more qualified doctors, not that the state relax — or that we strike down as unconstitutional — precautions taken by the state to protect the health and safety of pregnant women who have chosen to end their pregnancies,” he wrote.

Anne E. Schwartz, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Department of Justice, said the U.S. Supreme Court will ultimately give the decision, ABC News reports.