U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson provided a split ruling regarding Virginia’s abortion laws, upholding two pro-life laws while overturning two others. Hudson upheld a law requiring a woman wait 24-hours and receive an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion. After originally ruling a “physician-only” law unconstitutional, Hudson vacated that decision and backed the law, prohibiting non-physicians from performing abortions. Despite these laws being upheld, however, abortion proponents were still able to declare a few victories from this ruling.
A law requiring second-trimester abortions to be committed at a licensed outpatient hospital was overturned by Hudson, as was a requirement stating first-trimester abortion facilities must meet the same standards as general and surgical hopsitals. These rulings were the result of an eight-day trial at a federal court in Richmond after abortion groups partnered with abortion facilities to file a lawsuit against the state’s abortion laws.
Hudson’s 67-page ruling stated that the “court recognizes that the waiting period following the ultrasound adds a logistical complexity to an existing myriad of hardships faced by those with limited resources and support networks.” But he also recognized that it “is insufficient for the Court to conclude that it amounts to a substantial obstacle to abortion access.”
The ultrasound ruling could help validate the value of unborn life in Virginia, as 78% of women who see an ultrasound reject abortion.
Naturally, abortion groups such as the Falls Church Healthcare Center were dissatisfied with this. Founder and director Rosemary Codding expressed disappointment that the ruling denied women their “constitutionally-protected right to accessing healthcare.” But all these rulings do is allow women to make an informed choice about their pregnancy.
The idea of abortion being a form of healthcare has been debunked by over 1,000 OB/GYNs who confirmed that “the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.” These medical professionals have also attested that abortion is never medically necessary.