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Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Ind. Decisions - More on "Federal judge blocks chemical abortion law that targeted Planned Parenthood clinic in Lafayette"

Updating this ILB entry from Nov. 27th, a challenge to a law from Wisconsin has reached the 7th Circuit. Some quotes from Michael Tarm' long AP story yesterday in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

CHICAGO — An appellate court on Tuesday questioned a lawyer for the state of Wisconsin about why lawmakers singled out abortion clinics in requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, as judges heard arguments about the hotly debated law.

The sometimes-contentious, hourlong hearing before the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was meant to help a three-judge panel decide whether to lift a temporary block on the law imposed by a lower court.

Such laws in Wisconsin, as well as similar laws in Texas and other states, have recently become a focus of debate over abortion. Critics say they're designed to stymie abortion rights, while supporters say the laws protect women's health.

Judges often play devil's advocate during oral arguments, so questions they pose aren't always an indication of which way they are leaning. But the three judges in Chicago, led by Judge Richard Posner, were especially aggressive in their questioning of Daniel Lennington, Wisconsin's assistant attorney general.

At times appearing exasperated, Posner repeatedly interrupted Lennington, asking why lawmakers — if it's true they saw the law as primarily a public health measure and not an anti-abortion bill — focused on abortion clinics and not other outpatient clinics, such as those performing laparoscopic surgeries.

"Why did they start with abortion clinics? Because it begins with the letter 'A'?" Posner asked. * * *

Despite Flaxman's comment that the number of impacted doctors is unclear, opponents of the law have long argued that it will force a Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton and an AMS clinic in Milwaukee to close because abortion providers at both facilities lack admitting privileges.

ILB: The admission privleges requirement in the Wisconsin law is similar to the requirement in an Indiana law passed in 2011, HEA 1210. See this May 29, 2013 ILB post for more.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on December 4, 2013 10:23 AM
Posted to Ind Fed D.Ct. Decisions