MADISON, Wisc. — A federal appeals court has struck down a Wisconsin law requiring abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital, with a judge nominated to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan writing the opinion on behalf of the majority.
As previously reported, Gov. Scott Walker approved Senate Bill 206 (SB206) in July 2013, which called for increased health standards at abortion facilities, including the admitting privileges requirement. The measure was stated to protect women in the event of injury during the abortion procedure.
Pro-life advocates praised the legislation, but Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately filed a lawsuit against the state, asserting that the regulation will cause at least Affiliated Medical Services to close its doors since local hospitals have been unwilling to grant its abortionist, Dennis Christensen, admitting privileges.
In March, U.S. District Judge William Conley, appointed to the bench by Barack Obama, sided with the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, declaring that that a woman’s desire to obtain an abortion “is substantially outweighed by the burden this requirement will have on women’s health outcomes due to restricted access to abortions in Wisconsin.”
Conley’s opinion was appealed to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld the decision 2-1 on Tuesday. Judge Richard Posner, who was nominated to the bench by then-President Ronald Reagan, wrote for the majority.
“What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women’s health — and the abridgment challenged in this case would actually endanger women’s health,” he wrote.
Posner said that laws like Wisconsin’s regulation serve as an indirect effort make abortions more difficult to obtain.
“They may do this in the name of protecting the health of women who have abortions, yet as in this case the specific measures they support may do little or nothing for health, but rather strew impediments to abortion,” he opined.
He was joined by Obama appointee David Hamilton in his decision.
Judge David Manion, appointed by Ronald Reagan, was the lone dissenter.
“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.
But the case may not be over as the U.S. Supreme Court agreed earlier this month to hear a case out of Texas surrounding whether the state may require abortionists to obtain admitting privileges and operate with the same standards as surgical facilities.
“The advancement of the abortion industry’s bottom line shouldn’t take precedence over women’s health, and we look forward to demonstrating the validity of these important health and safety requirements in court,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a statement.
Some believe that the abortion industry should be outlawed altogether instead of being regulated.