United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Constitutional Law — abortion
The district judge did not err in staying, pending trial, sec. 940.15(5), which prohibits a doctor from performing an abortion unless he has admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles from the clinic in which the abortion is performed.
“The cases that deal with abortion-related statutes sought to be justified on medical grounds require not only evidence (here lacking as we have seen) that the medical grounds are legitimate but also that the statute not impose an ‘undue burden’ on women seeking abortions. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, supra, 505 U.S. at 874, 877, 900–01 (plurality opinion); Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 930, 938 (2000); cf. Mazurek v. Armstrong, 520 U.S. 968, 972–73 (1997) (per curiam). The feebler the medical grounds, the likelier the burden, even if slight, to be ‘undue’ in the sense of disproportionate or gratuitous. It is not a matter of the number of women likely to be affected. ‘[A]n undue burden is a shorthand for the conclusion that a state regulation has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.’ Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, supra, 505 U.S. at 877 (plurality opinion). In this case the medical grounds thus far presented (‘thus far’ being an important qualification given the procedural setting—a preliminary? injunction proceeding) are feeble, yet the burden great because of the state’s refusal to have permitted abortion providers a reasonable time within which to comply.”
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Conley, J., Posner, J.