Supreme Court refuses to hear Wisconsin case on law requiring admitting privileges by abortion providers

Women's-healthThe U.S. Supreme Court yesterday blocked efforts by Wisconsin’s Attorney General to reinstate a state law requiring that abortion providers have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

That provision was one of several restrictive measures hastily passed by the Wisconsin legislature in 2013. In the lawsuit that followed in federal court there, U.S. District Judge William Conley enjoined enforcement of the provision and the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed. 

Until a final resolution of the case, the requirement of admitting privileges remains unenforceable.

During the trial in the lower court, which concluded May 30, doctors argued that obtaining admitting privileges was a difficult if not impossible task, according to this report:

Doctors providing services submitted letters from hospitals rejecting their requests for admitting privileges mostly because they wouldn’t admit the number of patients required.  Hospitals normally require physicians with admitting privileges to admit a certain number of patients each year and with complications of abortions being rare, those minimum admission rates would never be met by doctors performing abortion.

The law requiring hospital admitting privileges only applies to abortion providers.  Those providing outpatient surgery, oral surgery, or other outpatient procedures are not required to have admitting privileges.

As in Wisconsin, the admitting privileges requirement was one of several abortion restrictions proposed here early in the 2013 long session but dropped from the bill ultimately signed into law, pending the adoption of regulations by the Department of Health and Human Services. That process is ongoing.

The case is Van Hollen v. Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, 13-1127.

 

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