Case Update: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc, et al., v. Van Hollen

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B Van Hollen asked the Supreme Court today to grant certiorari in Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc, et al., v. Van Hollen, a case brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, challenging that state’s admitting privileges law for abortion providers. The admitting privileges law singles out abortion providers for medically unnecessary restrictions and would force two of the four clinics in the state to stop offering abortion care. The Seventh Circuit had upheld a lower court’s decision blocking the Wisconsin law. Judge Posner, writing for the court, described the medical grounds supporting the law as “feeble.”

Doctors and leading medical groups, such as the American Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Wisconsin Public Health Association, have opposed such requirements because they are unnecessary for the provision of safe, high-quality health care, and because they prevent women from getting necessary services. Wisconsin law does not require doctors providing surgery at other health centers to have admitting privileges even for more complicated procedures.

The Wisconsin law is based on a model bill, not from any medical organization, but from Americans United for Life (AUL).  AUL has touted these measures as a way to shut down women’s health centers. It is similar to laws passed in Mississippi, North Dakota, and Alabama that have all been blocked by the courts, as well as a Texas law that recently went into effect and has left large swaths of the state without any abortion providers.

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