A federal judge yesterday rejected the claims of a Northern Virginia obstetrician convicted of performing an illegal abortion that Virginia's abortion statute is unconstitutional and the state's medical licensing powers too broad.
District Judge Oren R. Lewis, ruling in a civil suit filed by Dr. Chris Simopoulos of Woodbridge, said constitutional issues raised in the doctor's April 1980 trial in Fairfax County Circuit Court, now on appeal to the Supreme Court, were an adequate forum for a challenge to the state law.
Lewis also said lawyers for Simopoulos had failed to show that a decision by state officials to prohibit the doctor from performing any abortions for two years as a condition of being allowed to continue his practice was unconstitutionally broad.
The doctor's lawyer, Roy Lucas, said yesterday Lewis' order also would be appealed.
Simopoulos, a 42-year-old Greek immigrant, was found guilty of inducing an abortion in the second three months of pregnancy in his Falls Church clinic, not in a hospital as required by state law. The patient, a 17-year-old high school student, later delivered a dead, male fetus in a Springfield motel room.
Lewis, who also denied as premature a request that Simopoulos' conviction be vacated and his record wiped clean, referred throughout yesterday's order to the Virginia law as an "antiabortion statute."
Abortion is legal under certain conditions in Virginia and other states. Simopoulos' conviction was believed to be the first in the state since a 1973 Supreme Court ruling that limited the powers of states to restrict the operations.