MADISON, WI, July 10, 2013 ( – A federal judge has halted the implementation of a new abortion restriction that was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker only a few days ago.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed suit against the new law on Friday, complaining that a requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital constitutes an unconstitutional “undue burden” for women seeking abortions. 

The groups cited four obstacles the law would create to abortion access in the state: the closure of half of the states' abortion clinics, the loss of abortions after 19 weeks, the reduction of access to abortions in facilities that remain open, and the fact that women would have to drive greater distances to procure abortions.


Planned Parenthood and AMS admit that most of their abortionists in Wisconsin do not have admitting privileges and alleged that because of the speed with which the legislation was passed they were only able to initiate the process of reaching out to local hospitals before it went into effect. They also said they may not ever be able to get the required privileges.  

U.S. District Judge William M. Conley sided with plaintiffs, issuing a temporary restraining order against Act 37 until the bill is evaluated by the court in a hearing scheduled for July 17.  

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In his decision he observed that if the law were enforced, the resultant clinic closures would mean “there will be no abortion providers in the State of Wisconsin north of Madison and Milwaukee.”

He said there is a “troubling lack of justification” for the provision and stated there would be “irreparable harm” done to those women who would be prevented from having abortions in the next 10 days as a result.  

He added that he believes “that State is unlikely to meet its burden of demonstrating that the admitting privileges requirement is reasonably related to promoting the health of women seeking abortions.” 

Susan Armacost, Legislative Director of Wisconsin Right to Life, disagrees, saying the provision is necessary to protect women's health.

“Currently, when a woman experiences hemorrhaging or other life-threatening complications after an abortion in Wisconsin, the clinic puts her in an ambulance and sends her to a hospital alone where she is left to her own devices to explain her medical issues to the emergency room staff,” she said. “The abortionist who performed the abortion is nowhere to be seen. This deplorable situation must change.”

Terry Huyck, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, welcomed the judge's decision in a statement. “This ruling is a step in the right direction for the women of Wisconsin who can now continue to make their own personal, private health care decisions,” she said.

The other provisions of Act 37, also known as “Sonya’s Law,” will remain in effect.  One of those provisions requires that women seeking abortions in Wisconsin be given the opportunity to see their unborn children through an ultrasound.

Additionally, the law stipulates that fathers and grandparents of aborted children have grounds to sue the abortionist for emotional distress, even if those individuals originally provided written consent to the abortion. 

Co-authored with John Jalsevac