March 20, 2014 — Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen (R) on Wednesday petitioned the Supreme Court to review a state law (Act 37) that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports (Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 3/19).
The law was scheduled to take effect on July 8, 2013, but judges have placed it on hold pending a decision on the merits of a lawsuit from Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the American Civil Liberties Union (Women's Health Policy Report, 1/2).
In the petition filed Wednesday, Van Hollen's office asked the Supreme Court to review the case and "clarify whether abortion providers may assert the rights of their patients when challenging an abortion regulation designed to protect maternal health."
In addition, the petition argued that the federal appeals court's decision to uphold the injunction conflicts with rulings on similar issues in other courts. The high court should hear the case in order "to develop clear limitations on an abortion providers' right to represent the interests of their patients," according to the petition.
Likelihood of Consideration
According to the Journal-Sentinel, it is not known if the Supreme Court will decide whether to consider the case in time to postpone a trial scheduled for May (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 3/19).
Planned Parenthood attorney Lester Pines said the likelihood of the court taking up the case is "a long shot at best" (Richmond, AP/Minneapolis Star Tribune, 3/19).
On Wednesday, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Wisconsin President and CEO Teri Huyck said in a statement, "[I]t is deeply disappointing that politicians in Wisconsin continue to waste taxpayer dollars to litigate these dangerous and unconstitutional laws." She added that the law would not protect women's health, but instead would "force an abortion later in pregnancy or cut off access to safe and legal abortion."
Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards added that the group would "continue to fight these dangerous restrictions in state legislatures and courts across the country."
Planned Parenthood noted that a number of medical groups oppose the law, including the Wisconsin Medical Society, the Wisconsin Hospital Association, the Wisconsin Public Health Association and the Wisconsin Alliance for Women's Health, among others (Wisconsin Gazette, 3/19).