Oct. 1 (UPI) -- A federal judge has struck down two Virginia abortion laws he said were unconstitutional and placed an undue burden on women seeking the procedure.
U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson on Monday declared unlawful a state law that says non-surgical second-trimester abortions must be performed in a hospital. He also invalidated a law that said clinics performing five or more first-trimester abortions each month must meet the same facility standards as general and surgical hospitals.
The two recent laws had been challenged by abortion rights groups that said they were too restrictive.
Although Hudson declared the laws unconstitutional, he upheld several other state statutes on abortion that were under challenge -- including a requirement that only physicians are allowed to perform the procedure and another regarding licensing requirements for abortion clinics.
The Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and a law firm representing the ACLU of Virginia and the Falls Church Healthcare Center filed suit last year against the laws. Proponents were both satisfied and unhappy with Hudson's rulings.
"The reality is that despite this significant move towards access, we at Falls Church Healthcare Center are disappointed by today's decision," Rosemary Codding, founder of the Falls Church Healthcare Center, said in a statement.
"We're disappointed that our patients did not get their constitutionally-protected right to accessing healthcare without legislative interference, which they are entitled to and they deserve."
Paulette McElwain, president of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood, said she was somewhat troubled by the split ruling.
"The decision leaves in place several burdensome, medically unnecessary restrictions that will continue to pose hurdles to patients," she said.