Federal judge upholds two Virginia abortion laws, strikes down two others

Federal judge upholds two Virginia abortion laws, strikes down two others

A federal judge upheld two Virginia laws that restrict access to abortions and struck down two others on Monday. 

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson upheld a mandate for women to get an ultrasound 24 hours prior to an abortion and a law requiring all abortions be performed by physicians, The Associated Press reported. The latter prevents nurse practitioners and physician's assistants from performing the procedures.

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The judge overturned the other two contested laws, one of which mandated all second-trimester abortions to be completed in a licensed outpatient hospital. 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 as saying a in 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 an 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.