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Federal judge temporarily blocks women's safety part of Wisconsin's pro-life law

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

U.S. District Judge William Conley has temporarily blocked part of Wisconsin's new pro-life law. He has scheduled a hearing for next week. The law included safety provisions similar to those in several other states that ask women to undergo an ultrasound procedure before an abortion, as well as require doctors who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital.
 

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The law was signed by Gov. Scott Walker last week and was enacted on Monday followed by a petition against it filed by Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin is one of the law's most vocal opponents. The organization is currently representing just two doctors. An abortion clinic is also challenging the law, claiming the measure was rushed into effect, saying the provision harms doctors and would force two of the state's four clinics to close.

Opponents also warned that women with appointments for an abortion in upcoming weeks would have to cancel if the protections took effect. The Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton would be closed under the provision, requiring women to drive further South to Milwaukee for an abortion - an extra two hour drive.

Assistant Attorney General Dan Lennington argued the extra drive would not be a burden for women, though Conley quickly dismissed him.

"You haven't driven those roads if you don't think it's a burden," District Judge Conley said.

Conley agreed with anti-life lawyers that the law had been rushed onto the books, calling it "precipitous." Conley noted that it was proposed, passed, signed and enacted in just 34 days.

Conley issued a temporary restraining order blocking the admitting privileges requirement and set a hearing on a full injunction for July 17.

Conley said he found that provision troublesome. He wrote that the evidence he saw "strongly supports a finding that no medical purpose is served." It is up to state officials to prove that it safeguarded women's health, he wrote, which he said "does not bear even superficial scrutiny on the current record."

The requirement that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital has been a key part of pro-life measures in at least 15 other states. Admitting privileges allow abortion providers to accompany injured mothers to the hospital where they can provide crucial information to lifesaving personnel. The safeguard is merely common sense and is a genuine measure to protect women.

A similar measure is the focus of a bitter dispute in Texas, where the Legislature was called into a special session. A Democratic filibuster delayed passage of the crucial law until after the adjournment deadline. Advocates on both sides were holding daylong protests as a Senate committee discussed the bill Monday in the state capital, Austin.

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