A doctor who filed an affidavit in support of Wisconsin's new abortion regulations provided a federal court with inaccurate information on how difficult it would be for doctors who perform abortions to obtain the hospital admitting privileges required by the law.
The situation highlights the confusion about whether these doctors will be able to gain the privileges they will need if the suspended law is upheld in court.
Matthew Lee, a member of the credentials committee at Wheaton Franciscan St. Joseph Campus in Milwaukee, said in the court declaration he filed last week that many religiously affiliated hospitals across the state could be open to granting such doctors admitting privileges.
But the hospital he works at is not. The chief medical officer for Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare said this week that as a Catholic institution, it would not grant privileges to doctors who perform abortions.
And a spokeswoman for the Columbia St. Mary's Health System said that organization also would deny privileges to physicians who perform abortions "as a matter of our Catholic identity."
The new law, known as Act 37, requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30-mile radius of their clinics. The law passed the Wisconsin Legislature on June 14 and was signed into law by Gov. Scott Walker on July 5. Abortion clinics promptly sued Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen and a slew of other officials with the authority to enforce the legislation.
U.S. District Judge William Conley has blocked the law from going into effect twice, most recently about a week ago.