UPDATE: Judge blocks enforcement of part of abortion law - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Judge blocks enforcement of part of Wisconsin's abortion law


MADISON (WKOW) -- Two abortion clinics will be staying open after a decision came down Monday.

A judge blocked part of a state law that would have shut down a Planned Parenthood clinic in Appleton and an Affiliated Medical Services clinic in Milwaukee. Governor Scott Walker signed Act 37 on Friday and it was supposed to go into effect Monday.  

The law has two parts: first, it requires women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion; second, it requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics.

District Judge William Conley temporarily blocked the second portion after opponents, including Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Services, filed a lawsuit on Friday.

"We are asking the court to block this law, which significantly restricts a woman's access to safe and legal abortion services in Wisconsin. Abortion is a deeply personal and often complex decision, but ultimately a decision that a woman should make — politics should not interfere," Planned Parenthood president and CEO Teri Huyck wrote in a statement.

In the decision, the judge wrote, "There is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement…" and that "there will certainly be irreparable harm to those women."

Conley wrote that the law would present a "substantial obstacle" to women seeking abortions in Wisconsin because of the distance to clinics that provide abortion services, as Appleton is the closest facility for patients traveling from Northeast and North-Central Wisconsin, and types of services some clinics provide. Closing Affiliated Medical Service's Milwaukee clinic would mean that there would be no clinics in the state providing abortions to women past 19 weeks, according to Conley.

Opponents of the law say the decision is a huge win for Wisconsin women, even if it is temporary.

"I'm very excited obviously because it's a great victory for Wisconsin women because two health centers that provide abortion care were essentially going to be shut down because of this horrible new law that Governor Walker signed on Friday when everyone was out on their Fourth of July holidays," said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison).

Taylor says she thinks the judge realized the requirements on doctors would hurt women's healthcare access.

"I think the judge realized that if this law was to go forward that women's access to reproductive health care was going to be severely curtailed. And that's why I think we got the injunction that was issued this evening," Taylor said.

WKOW contacted conservatives and lawmakers who wrote the bill, including the lawsuit's main defendant Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. However, they had not issued statements at press time.

In the past, supporters of the law have said that requiring doctors to have admitting privileges protects women who suffer complications after having abortions.

Judge Conley's restraining order is in effect until July 17, when there will be a hearing. The aforementioned Appleton and Milwaukee can still provide abortions until at least July 18.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A judge granted a temporary restraining order blocking enforcement of part of Wisconsin's new abortion law.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Friday, July 5, the same day Gov. Scott Walker signed the bill into law. It took effect Monday, July 8.

The lawsuit asked to stop the enforcement of the section of the bill which requires physicians who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic.

U.S. District Judge William Conley said in his ruling, "there is a troubling lack of justification for the hospital admitting privileges requirement, which is important because the United States Supreme Court has explained that the State of Wisconsin bears the burden of proving that a medical requirement is 'reasonably directed to the preservation of maternal health.'"

The restraining order is in effect until a full preliminary injunction hearing can be held on July 17.


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