An abortion clinic in Louisiana is stopping abortions because it can’t comply with a pro-life law protecting women’s health that requires abortion practitioners to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in case women are seriously injured in a botched abortion.
As LifeNews reported, a federal appeals court has overturned a block a federal judge put in place to stop a new law from taking effect that may close three of the four abortion clinics operating in the Bayou State.
Earlier this month, a Louisiana judge sided with abortion advocates and ruled against a state law that would ensure abortion clinics are meeting basic health and safety requirements. Baton Rouge District Judge John deGravelles blocked the law from taking effect and declared it “unconstitutional” in a Tuesday ruling.
The pro-life law would protect women by ensuring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, that informed consent protections apply to all abortions, and that facilities that perform more than five abortions maintain proper licensing.
Now, a new report indicates an abortion center will no longer do abortions, though it will refer women seeking abortions to a facility in New Orleans.
That facility — the Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge on Colonial Drive — expects to stay open as abortion activists take the battle over the new law, which requires abortion doctors to have “active admitting privileges” at hospitals within 30 miles of their clinics, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Delta’s administrator said Thursday that the clinic is now providing abortion counseling only. Baton Rouge area women who want abortions are being referred to the Women’s Health Care Center on General Pershing Street in New Orleans, one of four clinics statewide.
“Our Baton Rouge office does not have hospital privileges, therefore they are not providing abortion services,” said Sylvia Cochran, who oversees both clinics.
Requiring abortionists to maintain hospital privileges ensures that patients receive continuity of care. Experts have testified in both Alabama and Mississippi that abortionists often call 911 in the event of an emergency, and leave it to emergency room staff, which seldom include an OBGYN, to figure out the extent of a patient’s injuries or complications. This causes a delay in emergency care for women who are injured in botched abortons that also claim the life of their unborn child.
The hospital privilege requirement also ensures that abortionists meet certain medical standards, which is another layer of accountability that weeds out incompetent practitioners. Numerous abortion practitioners have been fined, lost their licenses and been closed down entirely because of shoddy care for women.
“Without this law, abortionists with documented histories of incompetence are allowed to continue inflicting their quackery upon unsuspecting women,” said Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman.
In Louisiana, attorneys for the state immediately asked Judge John deGravelles to stay the order while they appeal it and his Jan. 26 finding that the law is unconstitutional. Today, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit today granted an extraordinary emergency stay of the federal court decision. The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Louisiana abortion centers behind the lawsuit indicated they would appeal to the Supreme Court.
DeGravelles said in January that of six abortion doctors performing abortions in Louisiana, only two meet the requirement, and one of them has said he would quit if the law is enforced. The pro-life law would protect women by ensuring that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital, that informed consent protections apply to all abortions, and that facilities that perform more than five abortions maintain proper licensing.
Attorneys for Louisiana were confident the appeals court would overturn the judge’s ruling for two reasons.
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They said the judge’s analysis of the number of women likely to be affected used a procedure very different from the one used by the same court when it upheld a similar law in Texas. The 5th Circuit’s procedure would have indicated that the law is constitutional because more than 90 percent of all women of reproductive age are within 150 miles of an abortion clinic, the attorneys’ motion said.
They also took issue with deGravelles’ ruling that a third doctor’s privileges do not meet the law’s requirements even though Kathy Kleibert, who was then health secretary, testified that she would accept them.
Louisiana Right to Life Executive Director Ben Clapper previously told LifeNews: “Not surprisingly, the abortion industry has filed suit to stop the common-sense standards put in place by HB 388. We believe it is the right of the state of Louisiana to close loopholes that allow abortion facilities to operate at a lower standard as compared to other surgical facilities.”
Clapper said that although the facilities and doctors are claiming they have not had enough time to get admitting privileges, the amount of time they had was similar to the amount of time involved in the implementation of a similar law in Texas.
The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear abortion advocates’ challenge of the Texas law in March.
The law is responsible for closing abortion clinics that could not guarantee they could protect the health of Texas women. It has been credited with saving the lives of more than 10,000 unborn children.