UPDATE: Justices reject Wisconsin appeal over abortion law

UPDATED Monday, June 23, 2014 --- 9:31 a.m.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court has turned down Wisconsin's bid to begin enforcing a state law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, while a legal fight over the law plays out in lower federal courts.

A federal judge is weighing a challenge to the law from Parent Parenthood and others which claim that it would amount to restricting access to abortions in Wisconsin because of the difficulties doctors would face in getting the hospital privileges.

U.S. District Judge William Conley is not expected to rule on the lawsuit before July, but he placed the law on hold last summer. The federal appeals court in Chicago upheld Conley's action.

The justices did not comment Monday in declining to get involved in the case.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, May 30, 2014 --- 11:00 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge says he's concerned that a Wisconsin law that requires abortion providers to get hospital admitting privileges is inflexible.

U.S. District Judge William Conley made the remarks Friday as he wrapped up a week-long bench trial to gather information in a lawsuit challenging the mandate. Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services contend the requirement will force AMS's Milwaukee clinic to close because providers there can't get admitting privileges. They contend the closure would unconstitutionally restrict access to abortion in Wisconsin.

State attorneys counter the requirement will ensure better patient care.

Conley says he's troubled the law required providers to get privileges within three days of its enactment and could dampen clinic's efforts to recruit new providers.

He's not expected to issue a ruling for at least six weeks.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Friday, May 30, 2014 --- 9:35 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A former researcher is testifying that a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges will force women to travel hundreds of miles further for the procedures and could drive them to give up on an abortion.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services are challenging the law in federal court, saying the requirement would force AMS's Milwaukee clinic to close because providers there lack privileges and can't get them.

Stanley Henshaw is a former researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health research institute. He testified during a bench trial Friday that AMS is the only Wisconsin clinic that performs abortions beyond 19 weeks of pregnancy.

Henshaw says if AMS closes, the nearest clinic that offers abortions beyond that point is 85 miles away from Milwaukee in Chicago.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 4:59 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge wants a Milwaukee abortion provider to renew efforts to obtain hospital admitting privileges as a possible resolution to a lawsuit alleging that a Wisconsin law requiring providers get such privileges is unconstitutional.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services argue the requirement will force AMS's Milwaukee clinic to close because the two providers there lack admitting privileges and can't get them.

One of the providers, Dennis Christensen, testified Thursday he has been trying to get privileges at two Milwaukee hospitals since last summer but hasn't secured them and he's uncertain why.

U.S. District Judge William Conley told Christensen to find out why the hospitals won't grant the privileges. He suggested if AMS can get privileges it could resolve the challenge short of striking down the requirement.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 3:50 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An abortion provider testifying in a federal trial on Wisconsin law's requiring abortion doctors to get hospital admitting privileges says he can't get them because almost none of his patients have ever gone to a hospital.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed a lawsuit last summer challenging the law. They say it would force AMS' Milwaukee clinic to close because doctors there lack admitting privileges.

An AMS abortion provider, Dr. Dennis Christensen, testified Thursday that he's been trying to get admitting privileges at two Milwaukee hospitals since last summer. He says he hasn't been successful because the hospitals' credentialing committees want information on patients he's treated in a hospital setting.

He says he doesn't have that because he hasn't treated an abortion patient in a hospital for a decade.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Thursday, May 29, 2014 --- 5:36 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- It looks like a literal battle of the experts is looming in a federal trial to determine if Wisconsin's law requiring abortion providers to get hospital admitting privileges is constitutional.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services allege the law will force AMS's Milwaukee clinic to close and place an undue burden on women seeking abortions. State attorneys counter the law ensures continuity of care.

U.S. District Judge William Conley is holding a bench trial this week to gather evidence ahead of a ruling. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals last year advised Conley to choose his own expert to testify because both sides' witnesses likely will be biased.

Conley's expert is scheduled to square off with the state and plaintiffs' experts in a debate in Conley's courtroom Thursday.

Copyright 2014: Associated Press

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UPDATED Wednesday, May 28, 2014 --- 11:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- An obstetrician is testifying that an abortion provider abandoned a patient who needed a hysterectomy as state attorneys try to persuade a federal judge to uphold Wisconsin's law requiring abortion providers get hospital admitting privileges.

Milwaukee-based obstetrician James Linn testified Wednesday that several years ago he assisted on a hysterectomy on a woman who suffered a lacerated uterus during an abortion. He says his colleague tried to reach the doctor who performed the abortion but the provider never called back.

He says in his mind the provider abandoned the patient.

Linn's testimony comes as part of a federal lawsuit Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed last year challenging the admitting privileges mandate. State attorneys contend the requirement ensures continuity of care.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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UPDATED Wednesday, May 28, 2014 --- 9:50 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A Wisconsin woman who says she became extremely ill after having an abortion is testifying in federal court in a trial challenging a state law requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.

Lena Wood testified Wednesday for state attorneys who are defending the law. Wood testified that she grew extremely ill after she had an abortion in 1995 and was hospitalized for 12 days.

She says the abortion doctor never contacted her, making her feel abandoned.

Planned Parenthood attorney Lester Pines argues Wood had a urinary tract infection and doesn't know for sure whether the abortion caused her illness.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed a federal lawsuit challenging the law last summer. State attorneys counter the law insures continuity of care.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 27, 2014 --- 4:46 p.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A doctor who performs abortions for Planned Parenthood says it took her nine months to get admitting privileges at two Milwaukee hospitals.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services are challenging Wisconsin's law requiring abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

The law's supporters argue the law ensures continuity of care if women must go to hospitals.

Opponents say the law is unnecessary and burdens doctors and women seeking abortions.

Dr. Susan Pfleger testified Tuesday during a federal bench trial that she performs abortions one or two days a week for Planned Parenthood. She says she began applying for admitting privileges in May 2013 and didn't get them until January and February.

State attorneys say Pfleger contributed to the delays by not providing all the needed information at once.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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UPDATED Tuesday, May 27, 2014 --- 11:02 a.m.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Attorneys for abortion providers are trying to persuade a federal judge that a Wisconsin law requiring those providers to have hospital admitting privileges is unnecessary.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services contend the law will force AMS's Milwaukee clinic to close because providers there lack such admitting privileges. State attorneys counter the law provides continuity of care if complications arise.

AMS clinic director Wendie Ashlock testified in a bench trial that began Tuesday that between 2010 and 2012 about 60 of the clinic's roughly 7,000 patients suffered complications and three were transferred to a hospital in 2012 and 2013.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin medical director Kathy King testified complications are rare and that emergency room doctors can treat the patients. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas have similar laws. Abortion clinics in Alabama have mounted a similar lawsuit.

Copyright Associated Press 2014

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Posted Tuesday May 27, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- A federal judge is about to start weighing the constitutionality of a Wisconsin law requiring abortion providers to get admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.

Planned Parenthood and Affiliated Medical Services filed a lawsuit in July arguing the law would force abortion clinics in Appleton and Milwaukee to close because providers at the facilities lack admitting privileges.

The Appleton providers have since gained privileges. The organizations still contend the law would force the AMS facility to close, placing a burden on women seeking abortions.

State attorneys argue the law ensures continuity of care if complications arise and a woman goes to a hospital.

U.S. District Judge William Conley is scheduled to begin a bench trial on Tuesday. Proceedings are expected to last until at least Friday.

Copyright Associated Press 2014


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