A federal judge in Wisconsin has ruled that a law in that state that can make it difficult for women to get abortions is unconstitutional, a ruling that could set precedent for several other states fighting a similar legal battle.
A Wisconsin law passed in 2013 required doctors who perform abortions at have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, a rule that can limit a doctor’s ability to perform abortions. If a doctor was not allowed to perform at the local hospital, the law would not allow the abortion.
US District Judge William Conley on Friday ruled that restricting the procedure to a local hospital was unconstitutional because no evidence proved that it was safer to have an abortion at a local hospital. The judge also said abortion doctors should not be treated differently than doctors who perform more risky surgeries.
Judge Conley’s ruling could reverberate around the country, as several other states have similar abortion restrictions in place and are in various rounds of legal fights.
Courts in Alabama and Mississippi have acted to prevent laws with hospital-admittance restrictions from stopping abortions, the Wall Street Journal reported. A similar law in Louisiana has been frozen while its fate is determined in federal court.
However, the same appeals court that blocked the Mississippi law upheld a similar law in Texas. The dissonance in federal court rulings could prompt the US Supreme Court to take up the issue, though the high court has not indicated that it is considering doing so.
Supporters of the Wisconsin law have said they plan to appeal the decision.
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