Analysis

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.

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.

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