As court fights have become increasingly critical in shaping the nation’s abortion laws, here’s a look at 10 of the most important cases pending right now in state and federal court.
1. Wisconsin. The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood have challenged a law requiring every physician who performs an abortion at a clinic to have staff privileges at a local hospital, arguing that the measure would force two of the state’s four abortion clinics to close.In Wisconsin. A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order against the law, which Gov. Scott Walker (R) signed on July 5; the judge will hold a hearing on the case this week.
2. North Dakota. The state’s Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) garnered national attention in late March when he signed into law a bill restricting abortions as soon as a heartbeat is detectable, which can be as early as six weeks. But he has also signed off on bills prohibiting abortion based on sex selection and genetic abnormalities, barring non-surgical abortions and requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortion doctors. The Center for Reproductive Rights is challenging all of these bills, some in state court and some in federal court. The fetal heartbeat bill takes effect on Aug. 1, so there is a chance the federal judge overseeing that challenge would issue a preliminary injunction that would prevent it from taking effect in the state.
3. Virginia. NOVA Women’s Healthcare, the state’s busiest abortion clinic, just closed because its operators said it could not afford to comply with new regulations requiring costly upgrades in order to meet strict, hospital-like standards. A separate clinic, the Falls Church Healthcare Center, filed an administrative appeal petition in the Arlington Circuit Court in June challenging the new rules imposed by the Virginia State Board of Health. The Commonwealth has responded, so the case is going forward.
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