Doctors ought to hear the whole truth surrounding abortion before they are ever asked to perform one.

Abortion doctors and admitting privileges – are clinics being treated unfairly?

Doctors ought to hear the whole truth surrounding abortion before they are ever asked to perform one.

Pro-choice activists are up in arms over the new law in Texas that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Because so few abortionists in Texas are able to get these admitting privileges, abortion clinics are suspending operations.

One pro-choice website said the following:

“An admitting privileges law is a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law. The main intent of TRAP laws is to stop abortion through legislation that doesn’t outright make abortion illegal—because that would be unconstitutional and unenforceable—but instead through forcing clinics to close. TRAP laws tend to place unnecessary burdens and stigmas on abortion providers.”

So – the question is, is requiring admitting privileges for abortion doctors specifically targeting them? Is mandating that abortionists get admitting privileges before they can do invasive surgery on women’s bodies unfairly imposing unnecessary medical standards? Well, let’s take a look.

The American College of Surgeons  released the “Statement on Patient Safety Principles for Office-based Surgery Utilizing Moderate Sedation/Analgesia, Deep Sedation/Analgesia, or General Anesthesia.” These are guidelines for all forms of outpatient surgery including eye surgery, plastic surgery, and, yes, “reproductive” surgery.

In 2003, an ACS/AMA (American College of Surgeons, American Medical Association) had a meeting which was chaired by LaMar S. McGinnis, Jr., MD, FACS, of the ACS and Clair Callan, MD, of the AMA. The participants unanimously came to the conclusion that:

“Physicians performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital.”

The following groups all signed off on this regulation:

1. Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care
2. American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery,
3. American Academy of Dermatology,
4. American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery,
5. American Academy of Ophthalmology,
6. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons,
7. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,
8. American Academy of Pediatrics,
9. American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities,
10. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,
11. American College of Surgeons,
12. American Medical Association,
13. American Osteopathic Association,
14. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery,
15. American Society for Reproductive Medicine,
16. American Society of Anesthesiologists,
17. American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery,
18. American Society of General Surgeons,
19. American Society of Plastic Surgeons,
20. American Urological Association,
21. Federation of State Medical Boards,
22. Indiana State Medical Society,
23. Institute for Medical Quality-California Medical Association,
24. Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations,
25. Kansas Medical Society,
26. Massachusetts Medical Society,
27. Medical Association of the State of Alabama,
28. Medical Society of the State of New York,
29. Missouri State Medical Association,
30. National Committee for Quality Assurance,
31. Pennsylvania Medical Society, and
32. Society of Interventional Radiology.

In fact, there was not a single organization involved in the meeting that did not agree that admitting privileges should be the standard for all outpatient surgery. It was unanimous.

Yet Planned Parenthood and pro-choice activists would have us believe that all of these organizations are all wrong and that abortion providers should not have to have admitting privileges. They would have us believe that, despite the most reputable medical organizations in the country saying that their members should have admitting privileges, abortionists don’t need them.

In reality, it is not the pro-lifers who are asking for different treatment for abortion clinics, it is the pro-choicers who are asking for different treatment for abortion clinics. Pro-lifers are not trying to impose unreasonable rules on clinics; pro-choicers are actually trying to allow clinics to operate in a substandard way. The norm for outpatient surgery, as testified by all these groups, is that admitting privileges are required. Pro-lifers are merely enforcing the standards of reputable medicine on clinics that are cutting corners and taking chances with women’s health.

  • PrincessJasmine4

    Sarah, quite assuming PP, Naral et al actually care about women.
    They care about abortion.
    They care about their bottom line.

    What other class of citizens is granted the right to kill their child? So it follow that these killing clinics should expect special treatment as well.

    Health regulations be damned if it interferes with killing our unborn! (oooh that should be one of their new slogans!)

  • Basset_Hound

    I found this link by accident some months back, and haven’t been able to find it since. Thanks. I’ll put it in my list of resources to use the next time someone whines about TRAP laws.

  • MamaBear

    “Physicians performing office-based surgery must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, a transfer agreement with another physician who has admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, or maintain an emergency transfer agreement with a nearby hospital.”
    This should be made part of the law in every state and they should make sure it applies to every outpatient clinic. List examples in that law and make it so that people see abortion clinics are clearly being put on the same playing field as the eye clinics and plastic surgeons, etc. I think it would be harder for pro-abortionists to fight if they are included in a list of other outpatient clinics in a bill.

  • B2K

    Nowhere on the statement do the physicians reference abortion as a procedure falling in this category (since even moderate sedation is beyond all first trimester procedures) and the issue that all pro-choice activists have is the distinction between abortion as other similarly low-risk procedures. So if politicians start using this statement to regulate all ambulatory surgical procedures, then perhaps your argument will have merit. So far, the politicians are just going over abortion providers with the guise of “protecting women’s health.”

    • Ingrid Heimark

      Since 1% of first trimester abortions lead to complications, some of them life-threatening such as uterine perforations, the admittions privilege is common sense, unless you don’t care about women’s safety that is, but just abortion

  • Ingrid Skop, MD

    Thanks so much for this information. I am an OB/gyn who spoke on four occasions in favor of the Texas omnibus bill (now law). I wish I had had access to this information then. (Although I assumed it to be the case, as it is not good or responsible medicine to perform surgery, and then let others deal with the complications!) You are probably aware of this by now, Sarah, but your third to last paragraph contains an error. It is not board certification that is recommended, but hospital admission privileges.

  • cellofello

    According to the following:

    Texas law previously followed the ACS/AMA standard. Abortion providers needed an agreement with a doctor having admitting privileges, which is deemed acceptable by the ACS/AMA panel. The new law imposes a higher standard than the panel proposes. The abortion provider must _personally_ have such admitting privileges.

    And according to the following:

    Texas does not impose even the ACS/AMA standard on many other medical procedures, including some (e.g., colonoscopy) that may involve sedation or anesthesia.

    So the answer to Ms. Terzo’s question would seem to be a very clear “yes”. By allowing other outpatient procedures to operate with (at best) a transfer agreement, while holding abortion providers to an even stricter standard, abortion providers are indeed being specifically targeted.

  • theo166

    The focus should be on fair administration of the regulation rather than allowing politics to drive the decision. Any valid area of regulation does harm in such case. I also don’t want dept of health shutting down my local restaurant based on political influence instead of merit.

    • Ingrid Heimark

      I assume you would want the restaurant to automaticcaly shut down if they couldn’t meet hygiene criteria everyone must follow? This is the same

      • theo166

        Rofl, neither restaurants nor medical clinics of any type are closed for minor code violation. However, when the violations are severe, closure is appropriate.

        • Ingrid Heimark

          And if abortion clinics can’t keep up with regulations that apply to all other clinics, such as admitting privileges, they will be closed. What is the problem?