Federal judge reverses course on Virginia physician-only abortion law
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Federal judge reverses course on Virginia physician-only abortion law

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.