Wisconsin Judge Blocks Anti-Abortion Law

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In Wisconsin yesterday, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on an abortion restriction similar to one aspect of the law currently under debate in Texas. U.S. District Judge William Conley blocked the bill, quietly signed into law by Governor Scott Walker on Friday, that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, ostensibly so they can further treat patients who suffer complications. (Conley and Walker, pictured, previously squared off over collective bargaining.) Considering how rare complications from abortions are — and considering hospitals have their own specialists for such cases — many see admitting privileges as an arbitrary obstacle designed to shut down clinics, Conley included.

According to the AP, Conley wrote that the requirement unconstitutionally restricts abortion access and unconstitutionally treats abortion providers differently from other doctors. He explained that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states must prove that restrictions on abortion rights must serve the mother's health and “the record to date strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served by this requirement." On the contrary, the bill would have forced a Planned Parenthood in Appleton and the Affiliated Medical Services clinic in Milwaukee to close, requiring dozens of women with abortions scheduled for this week to cancel appointments, and making abortions unavailable north of Madison. A hearing is scheduled for July 17. Similar laws have been passed in Alabama and Mississippi, both of which have been temporarily blocked and await trial.