A judge for the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on Tuesday vacated a previous ruling that had deemed a Virginia law, which required a physician to perform an abortion, unconstitutional.
Last week, Judge Henry Hudson granted a motion for summary judgment that held Virginia Code § 18.2-72 posed an undue burden on women’s access to abortion. § 18.2-72 allows only physicians licensed by the Virginia Board of Medicine to perform abortions.
After a careful review of the experts’ opinions from both sides, a consensus appears to have evolved that first trimester abortions, which typically require only medication, do not require the onsite presence of a licensed physician and is consequently unduly burdensome.
In reversing course, Hudson determined that whether § 18.2-72 presents an undue burden is a disputed material fact. Therefore, summary judgment was vacated and the case will proceed to trial.