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Judge Upholds VA Ultrasound and 'Physician-Only' Laws, Tosses Abortion Clinic Safety Measures

Abortion Laws
Abortion Laws

A federal judge in Virginia gave a mixed ruling on four abortion-related laws.

On Monday, US District Judge Henry E. Hudson upheld two portions of Virginia's abortion laws according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

One requires women to undergo an ultrasound and wait at least 24 hours before having an abortion.

Also, Hudson upheld the state's "physician-only law" which bars nurse practitioners and physician assistants from performing abortions.

Two other parts of the state's abortion laws were struck down. 

One requires that all second-trimester abortions be performed at licensed outpatient hospitals.

Also, the judge revoked regulations that called for clinics that provide first-trimester abortions to meet the same facility requirements as general and surgical hospitals.  

Judge Hudson noted that the US Supreme Court has acknowledged that abortion is "fraught with consequences" for the women who choose to have the procedure, for those performing the procedure and, "for the spouse, family and society which must confront the knowledge that these procedures exist."

"In addition to a woman's personal liberty interest, the state has profound interests in protecting potential life and protecting the health and safety of women," Hudson wrote. "The state, therefore, may take measures to further these interests so long as it does not create a substantial obstacle that unduly burdens a woman's right to choose."

Victoria Cobb, president of the socially conservative Family Foundation of Virginia said, "Once again the abortion industry failed in their zealous attempt to use the courts to do their bidding. We're pleased Judge Hudson confirmed the legality of Virginia's informed consent laws including the law that allows women the opportunity to see their ultrasound prior to an abortion if they so choose."

On the other side, Rosemary Codding, the founder, and director of the Falls Church Healthcare Center said, "We're disappointed that our patients did not get their constitutionally-protected right to accessing healthcare without legislative interference."

Hudson added that while the law "poses additional burdens, particularly with respect to poor and low-income individuals," the proof "is insufficient for the Court to conclude that it amounts to a substantial obstacle to abortion access."

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