CHICAGO –– A three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that Wisconsin’s abortion law requiring abortion clinic doctors to have hospital admitting privileges was unconstitutional.
In a 2-1 decision Nov. 23, the 7th Circuit in Chicago said the provision of the 2013 law endangered the health of women.
The decision for the majority, written by Judge Richard Posner, said the medical benefit of the requirement was “nonexistent” and “cannot be taken seriously as a measure to improve women’s health.”
“What makes no sense is to abridge the constitutional right to an abortion on the basis of spurious contentions regarding women’s health — and the abridgment challenged in this case would actually endanger women’s health,” Posner wrote.
In response, Heather Weininger, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life, said the appeals court decision “is detrimental to providing continuity of care for women who suffer complications from an abortion.”
“Wisconsin Right to Life is disappointed that women will continue to not receive the care they need under these frightening circumstances,” Weininger said in a statement from the organization.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel planned to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision, a spokesman said.
Weininger welcomed Schimel’s announcement, saying¬†the health and safety of women across the country were at stake.
The high court is reviewing a case challenging a Texas law that has a similar admitting privilege stipulation. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the Texas law and its wider provisions that include regulations that would close three-fourths of the state’s abortion clinics.
In a dissenting opinion on the Wisconsin law, Judge Daniel Manion determined that the requirement for admitting privileges helps ensure that doctors are properly credentialed and promotes continuity of care and informed decision-making by patients.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, the state’s two abortion providers, challenged the law soon after it took effect. The lawsuit contended that Affiliated’s Milwaukee office would be forced to close because its doctors could not get admitting privileges. Doctors at Planned Parenthood’s three clinics in the state have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.