Federal Judge Endorses Two Virginia Abortion Laws, Nullifies Two Others

Two Virginia abortion laws that restrict access to the procedure were upheld by a federal judge, and two others were struck down on Monday.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson endorsed an authorization that requires women to get an ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion, as well as a law that requires all abortions be carried out by physicians, The Hill reported citing The Associated Press.

The latter prevents nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants from performing the procedures.

Judge Hudson nullified the other two disputed laws, one of which required all second-trimester abortions to be completed in a licensed outpatient hospitals. The other would have obligated all clinics that conduct first-trimester abortions to meet the criteria as general and surgical hospitals, according to the AP.

States across the country passed stricter abortion restrictions this year, with some enacting de facto bans on the procedure. Many of those laws are being challenged in court.

The ruling prompted mixed emotions from women’s rights advocates, including Rosemary Codding, the founder and director of the Falls Church Healthcare Center.

“The reality is that despite this significant move towards access, we at Falls Church Healthcare Center are disappointed by today’s decision,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Codding said in a prepared statement. “We’re disappointed that our patients did not get their constitutionally-protected right to accessing health care without legislative interference that they are entitled to and that they deserve.”

The state’s side defended the laws saying that the restrictions make abortions safer and do not put undue burden on women looking to have an abortion, according to the newswire.

“Inconvenience is not an unconstitutional burden,” Emily Munro Scott, an attorney for the state, said, according to the AP.

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