Virginia sued over abortion laws
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Virginia sued over abortion laws

The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] on Wednesday against the state of Virginia over the state’s abortion laws, which the plaintiffs deem [press release] “burdensome and medically unnecessary.”

The lawsuit, brought on behalf of multiple health care organizations, took issue with five Virginia laws regarding abortion:

  1. second trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital;
  2. abortions must only be performed by a physician;
  3. medical facilities providing more than four first trimester abortions per month must undergo strict licensing requirements;
  4. patients must undergo an ultrasound and counseling 24 hours before an abortion, requiring them to make two trips to a clinic; and
  5. abortion is a class 4 felony if the requirements are not followed.

The lawsuit states, “the Commonwealth of Virginia has spent over four decades enacting layer upon layer of
unnecessary and onerous abortion statutes and regulations.”

The complaint alleges that the requirements are unconstitutional in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, which requires that the benefits of an abortion restriction must outweigh the burdens.

Earlier this month a federal appeals court heard [JURIST report] arguments on Texas defunding Planned Parenthood. Also in June the Supreme Court vacated [JURIST report] a case regarding the right of undocumented immigrants to have an abortion. That same month the governor of Louisiana signed [JURIST report] a measure to ban abortion after 15 weeks.