Did a Federal Court Just Rule That Every Single State Has to Have an Abortion Clinic?

Opinion   |   Tony Perkins   |   Jul 31, 2014   |   4:27PM   |   Washington, DC

Earlier this week, in a transparent act of judicial slight-of-hand, two judges on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled a pro-life bill in Mississippi unconstitutional.

They enjoined the law not because of what it says — it merely brings abortion regulations back in line with state standards for ambulatory surgical centers — but because holding abortionists to standard medical standards would shut down the last abortion facility in the state. In other words, two unelected justices decided that keeping abortionists in business is more important than the safety of women. Even more amazing is that the same Circuit ruled in favor of a very similar law in Texas.

judgepic9At issue in Mississippi is a 2012 law removing a special exemption for abortionists from the state’s requirement that all doctors at ambulatory surgical centers — medical clinics, dental offices, etc. — maintain admitting privileges at a local hospital. Thirteen other states already require abortionists to have either admittance privileges or some other agreement with a local hospital.

This common-sense requirement ensures that out-of-state abortionists cannot come into the state, perform a rapid series of abortions, and move on to another state . A traveling abortionist leaves women at greater risk for life-threatening medical complications requiring them to seek emergency care. Sometimes these women have had little or no help in the hand-off to hospital physicians.

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Mississippi’s last remaining abortion clinic sued to have the law enjoined because no local hospital would give admittance privileges to two of their abortionists. Private hospitals can deny physicians admittance privileges for a variety of reasons — type and volume of practice, medical malpractice history, etc. — but five of the seven hospitals cited abortion as one of the reasons. On Tuesday, two justices on the 5th Circuit put the abortion agenda ahead of women’s safety and ruled that the law cannot be enforced because it would shut down Mississippi’s last abortion facility.

This is a dangerous and novel attempt to rewrite judicial precedence to require at least one abortion facility in a state. What if that abortionist is like the “house of horrors” revealed two years ago at abortionist Gosnell’s Philadelphia clinic? We sure hope other states continue to pass these regulations and that any similar laws will be upheld for what they are, common sense regulations aimed to help women.

LifeNews Note: Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council.