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Judge reverses himself. Trial, not summary judgement, will decide whether non-physicians can perform first trimester abortions in Virginia

by | May 15, 2019

By Dave Andrusko

U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson

As NRL News Today reported last week, in an unprecedented decision, U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, following the lead of the abortion lobby, ruled that Virginia’s law requiring doctors to perform most abortions was “unduly burdensome” and therefore unconstitutional.

And as the Washington Post’s Laura Vozzella wrote last night, “It was the first time a federal judge anywhere in the country had come to that conclusion.” But then she added, “And then he had second thoughts.”

Judge Hudson wrote yesterday, “On further review, the Court is of the opinion that summary judgment was improvidently awarded,” adding, “Rather, on further consideration, whether the ‘Physicians-Only Law’ presents an undue burden to Virginia women who seek an abortion is a material fact that is genuinely in dispute.”

Olivia Gans Turner, president of Virginia Society for Human Life, told NRL News Today that VSHL “welcomes the action of Judge Hudson to reverse his own ruling, thereby respecting the laws in Virginia. It is critical that the state’s rights to pass such protective regulations regarding abortion be upheld.”

Both sides will have another run at this when the case goes to trial May 20 in Richmond.

So much attention was required to the physician-only requirement that other three provisions contested by the Abortion Lobby received short-shrift. They include that (1) second trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital; (2) medical facilities providing more than four first trimester abortions per month must undergo strict licensing requirements; and (3) women undergo an ultrasound and counseling 24 hours before an abortion.

Part of the backdrop to the lawsuit is that Attorney General Mark R. Herring is pro-abortion and has no interest in vigorously defending the laws.

Categories: Judicial
Tags: Virginia