Part of a new Wisconsin abortion law has been blocked temporarily by a judge on Monday. The bill was signed by Governor Scott Walker on Friday.
Federal District court Judge William Conley ordered on Monday that the admitting privileges requirement of the bill should be halted for 10 days, until another hearing can be held on the matter.
The new law requires women to undergo an ultrasound before they have an abortion. It also requires doctors performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.
In his ruling, Conley wrote that, should the law be enforced, there would “almost certainly be irreparable harm to those women who will be foreclosed from having an abortion in the next week either because of the undue burden of travel or the late stage of pregnancy, as well as facing increasing health risks caused by delay.”
Opponents of the new Wisconsin abortion law included Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin and Affiliated Medical Service. Both groups filed a lawsuit in federal court to block the law from being enforced.
Other states have passed similar laws in recent months, including Alabama, Arkansas, and North Dakota. All three states have been sued by abortion providers to block the laws. Alabama and Arkansas have been successful so far. There is also an ongoing fight in Texas between legislators for a similar bill.
Supporters of Wisconsin’s abortion law, including Susan Armacos, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Live, were optimistic that the entire law will stand. Armacos added, “We are not surprised, but we are absolutely confident that this law will be upheld.”
Conley allowed the portion of the law regarding ultrasounds to go into effect. Now, a woman wishing for an abortion will have to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours before the abortion. The requirement can be waived if the pregnancy was the result of sexual assault or incest.
Results of the ultrasound, including images, a description of the fetus, and a visualization of the heartbeat, will be offered to the woman. She can decline to see them.
A more in-depth hearing about the Wisconsin abortion law will take place on July 17.