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Appeals court panel to hear Wisconsin’s request to reinstate law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospital

by | Oct 1, 2015

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge William M. Conley

U.S. District Judge William M. Conley

A panel of three judges from the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago will hear arguments today in an appeal filed by the state of Wisconsin of U .S. District Judge William Conley’s March 20 decision overturning Wisconsin’s law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.

Judge Conley’s ruling surprised no one. An Obama appointee, he simply replaced a temporary injunction (first issued last year) with a permanent injunction.

And, as promised, soon afterwards. Attorney General Brad Schimel appealed Conley’s 93- page decision in which he concluded , “The only reasonable conclusion is that the legislation was motivated by an improper purpose, namely to restrict the availability of abortion services in Wisconsin.”

Heather Weininger, Executive Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said at the time that Judge Conley’s decision was “detrimental to providing continuity of care for women who suffer complications from an abortion.” Weininger added, “Wisconsin Right to Life is disappointed that women will not receive the care they need under these frightening circumstances.”

Act 37 became law in June 2013. The admitting privileges provision was challenged in federal court by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Affiliated Medical Services, and the ACLU of Wisconsin the following month.

The law also provided that women seeking abortions obtain an ultrasound. That provision was never challenged in court and remains in effect.

“The state’s two abortion providers, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, challenged the law, contending it would force Affiliated’s clinic in Milwaukee to close because doctors couldn’t get admitting privileges,” reported Patrick Marley of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The abortion clinics argued that if that happened, the state’s other three abortion clinics “wouldn’t be able to absorb Affiliated’s case loads.” Those clinics, Marley added, “all run by Planned Parenthood, are in Milwaukee, Madison and Appleton.”