American Journal of Law & Medicine

Wisconsin Court Enjoins Enforcement of Admitting Privileges Requirement for Abortion Providers-Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin V. Van Hollen

Wisconsin Court Enjoins Enforcement of Admitting Privileges Requirement for Abortion Providers--Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin v. Van Hollen (1)--The Federal District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin enjoined enforcement of a law that would require abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of their clinics, stating that the law was likely unconstitutional. (2) The injunction is currently pending review by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Section I of the 2013 Wisconsin Act 37 ("the Act"), which passed the Wisconsin Legislature on June 14, 2013, prevents physicians who do not have admitting privileges within thirty miles of their clinics from performing abortions, assigns penalties from one to ten thousand dollars, and allows women who have received abortions, fathers of aborted fetuses, and grandparents of aborted fetuses to file civil actions against the physician who performed those abortions. (3)

On July 5, 2013, four Wisconsin abortion providers filed a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and their patients against Wisconsin Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen, other state officers, and members of the Wisconsin Medical Examining Board. (4) These providers argued that the admitting privileges requirement violates their Fourteenth Amendment due process rights and the constitutionally-protected right of Wisconsin women to choose to have an abortion. (5) On August 2, 2013, the district court enjoined enforcement of the Act until after trial, since it is likely unconstitutional under Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey' s undue burden standard. (6) On August 15, the court stayed the case in part, waiting for the Seventh Circuit to weigh in on the injunction, and denied the stay in part, reasoning that the district court retains jurisdiction over the case until the Seventh Circuit makes a contrary determination or issues a final order. (7)

The court addressed three of the plaintiffs' causes of action in granting the preliminary injunction. (8) First, on behalf of their patients, the plaintiffs argued that the Act deprives Wisconsin women of their right to choose to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause. (9) Second, they contended that the Act violates their own due process rights as physicians since it does not pass rational basis scrutiny. (10) Third, they asserted an equal protection claim, arguing that the Act treats them differently than other similarly situated physicians. (11)

The defendants, in turn, argued that the Act is reasonably related to their interest in preserving maternal health. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.