MADISON, Wisc. — A federal judge nominated to the bench by Barack Obama inferred during an open trial on Thursday that the pro-life doctor who took the stand was lying when he testified about complications during abortion procedures.
The trial surrounds a new Wisconsin law that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event that the mother is injured during the abortion procedure. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services in Milwaukee had filed suit against the requirement earlier this year, stating that it 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.
Three doctors took the stand on Thursday to testify about the law and whether or not the requirement was beneficial or placed a burden on women.
As Dr. John Thorp, an obstetrician at the University of North Carolina, took the stand, U.S. District Judge William Conley began to spar with him, taking issue with his statement. Thorp had been asked by the state to testify at the trial in defense of the admitting privileges requirement.
According to reports, Thorp told the court that he believes that complications from abortions are under-reported, and that he does not find any U.S. studies on maternal deaths from abortion procedures to be completely reliable.
Conley then referenced a quote from the late author Mark Twain, stating that there are “lies, [expletive] lies and statistics.”
Thorp replied by stating that he felt chilled by Conley’s comment, which he took as inferring that Thorp was lying to the court. Conley then backtracked, saying that he did not intend to call Thorp a liar.
The obstetrician continued to hold his ground throughout the trial in defense of the admitting privileges requirement, including when the three doctors were asked whether women would receive better care if they were treated by an abortionist with hospital privileges.
“Admission privileges allow for continued care rather than sending a patient to a black box, which is my opinion what transfer agreements allow them to do,” Thorp said. “I reject the final premise that a law like this will harm Wisconsin women.”
As previously reported, a number of states are passing admitting privileges requirements, which have been effective in closing a number of abortion facilities within their borders. 20 abortion facilities in Texas have now closed—or have announced their closure—due to a similar law. According to a USA Today report, only half a dozen abortion facilities might still be open by the end of this year, which is a significant decrease from the 41 facilities operating in the state just three years ago.
The last remaining abortion facility in Mississippi has been battling in the courts for two years to keep its doors open after lawmakers likewise required admitting privileges in the event of an emergency. As none of the area hospitals will agree to work with abortionists, Jackson Women’s Organization has been unable to comply with the law, and was to have been shut down last year. It remains open while a judge decides whether the regulation passes constitutional muster.