Wisconsin’s law limiting the availability of abortions must remain blocked, a federal appeals court ruled, upholding a lower-court decision.
The Wisconsin law, passed this year, requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles (48 kilometers) of a clinic. U.S. District Judge William M. Conley in Madison, stopped enforcement of the law in August, pending a trial.
“The district judge’s grant of the injunction must be upheld,” the U.S. Court of Appeals in Chicago said today in its ruling. “It is beyond dispute that the plaintiffs face greater” irreparable harm if the law goes into effect than the state does if it’s stalled, the court said.
“If forced to comply with the statute, only later to be vindicated when a final judgment is entered, the plaintiffs will incur in the interim the disruption of the services that the abortion clinics provide,” the panel said.
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union sued state officials, contending the law is medically unnecessary and would force facilities to close, putting an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to have an abortion.
The appeals court didn’t rule on the merits of the challenge to the law.
The lower court case is Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Inc. v. Van Hollen, 3:13-cv-00465, U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin (Madison). The appellate case is Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Inc. v. Van Hollen, 13-2726, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (Chicago).
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