MADISON, Wis. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A federal appeals court on Monday ruled 2–1 that a Wisconsin law requiring abortion clinics only to use doctors with admitting privileges at local hospitals is unconstitutional. The law mirrors a Texas law currently under review in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Wisconsin law was passed by pro-life advocate Gov. Scott Walker in 2013. It was immediately halted, however, by a state judge and declared unconstitutional in March. It was then litigated in the federal court system. Having lost the federal circuit court appeal, the only way the law can now be enforced is if the ruling is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and it reverse — but so far there aren't any plans to take it that far.
Judge Richard Posner, for the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, wrote for the majority, saying:
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, however, didn't explain how abortion is imperative to women's health.
The law would have given abortionists a weekend to get admitting privileges at a hospital, a process that takes months. The state's two abortion providers, Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services, complained that their services would be severely affected, with AMS's clinic in Milwaukee closing. Three would remain open. Planned Parenthood's doctors have admitting privileges, but AMS doctors don't because they don't routinely practice medical procedures at local hospitals.
Posner further maintained the law was ridiculous because clinics have the ability to call an ambulance and that a person can get medical care from the emergency room already. He said the law's only purpose is to shut down abortion clinics.
Judge Daniel Manion, during arguments in October, commented that most abortions in the state of Wisconsin are medical, where the woman takes the final dose of a medication to cause the abortion, something that could happen a hundred miles away from the abortion clinic and from the overview of the doctor.
His written dissent on Monday stated: "There is no question that Wisconsin's admitting-privileges requirement furthers the legitimate, rational basis of protecting women's health and welfare."
The state contended earlier that if there is a complication during an abortion procedure, the same doctor doing the abortion should be the one to treat the patient in the hospital, allowing less or no time to bring another doctor up to speed on what happened, thereby increasing the quality of care.
Governor Scott Walker said in August that choosing between the life of the mother and the life of the fetus is a "false choice" and that better choices are available. He added that "medically there's always a better choice than choosing between the life of an unborn baby and the life of the mother."
There were nearly 6,000 abortions performed in Wisconsin in 2014, a 70-percent decrease from nearly 22,000 abortions in 1980. More women, however, are now using artificial contraception, which along with the "morning after pill" causes abortions and are nearly impossible to track.
Watch ChurchMilitant.com's "The Cost of Abortion" to learn more about the spiritual, physical and economic consequences of abortion.