News & Politics

Federal Court Strikes Down Wisconsin Abortion Law

A ruling from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down an abortion law in Wisconsin and could set the stage for a Supreme Court case with national implications. The law in question “requires abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals,” and was deemed unconstitutional by the court. ABC News reports:

[The case] centers on a lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services. The groups argue that the 2013 law amounts to an unconstitutional restriction on abortion.

The law’s supporters counter the Republican-backed statutes would ensure continuity of care if a woman developed complications from an abortion and needed to be hospitalized. But the lawsuit said the statute would force AMS’s clinic in Milwaukee to close because its doctors couldn’t get admitting privileges. That in turn would lead to longer waits at Planned Parenthood clinics. Therefore, the lawsuit maintained, the law amounts to an illegal restriction on abortions.

U.S. District Judge William Conley sided with the abortion providers in March, saying the law served no legitimate health interest. The Wisconsin Department of Justice later appealed to the 7th Circuit [and upheld].

The case serves as an intriguing bit of political theater, with liberal abortion supporters making a case which unwittingly indicts government regulation in general. After all, if a requirement to maintain admitting privileges somehow impedes the “constitutional right to abortion,” don’t similar regulations in other contexts impede other rights of commerce and association?