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Van Hollen petitions US high court for certiorari in Planned Parenthood case

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Wisconsin’s 2013 Act 37, which requires abortion doctors to have admitting privileges in local hospitals.

Act 37 requires a physician to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location where the abortion is performed. Gov. Scott Walker signed it into law July 5. That same day, two physicians and two abortion clinics sought a permanent injunction against Act 37’s admitting-privileges requirement.

The law went into effect July 8 but was immediately enjoined by U.S. District Court Judge William Conley in Madison. On Aug. 2, Conley entered a preliminary injunction holding that the respondents would suffer irreparable harm and that they had a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claim, according to Van Hollen’s petition to the high court.

Van Hollen appealed the ruling to the 7th Circuit, which affirmed Conley in December. The case is set for trial in May.

In his petition, Van Hollen asks three questions of the court:

  1. Does 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provide statutory standing for abortion providers to assert a claim based solely upon the constitutional rights of their patients?
  2. Do abortion providers have standing to assert a claim based solely upon the constitutional rights of their patients when challenging abortion regulations that are designed to protect maternal health?
  3. Is the Court of Appeals’ addition of a new legal standard consistent with the “undue burden” framework established by Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)?

The appeal is being handled by the Department of Justice’s Special Litigation & Appeals Unit, according to a news release.


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