Reports of women dying or nearly dying from botched abortion procedures have been surfacing in what should be alarming numbers. In some of those cases, the patients died because the doctor at the abortion clinic did not have admitting privileges to the nearby hospitals.
A number of states have taken action to better protect women from suffering the same fate as those who died from lack of hospital intervention by passing laws requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. The last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi was almost closed earlier this year by such a law, but a temporary injunction has allowed it to remain open for the time being.
Texas is another state that passed a law requiring doctors working at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges. The law was immediately challenged by abortion rights activists, claiming that it was unconstitutional and violated women’s rights.
Last Monday, District Judge Lee Yeakel ruled that the law was unconstitutional and that it served no medical purpose. Obviously, Yeakel is an abortion advocate if he truly believes that requiring a doctor performing abortions to have hospital admitting privileges has no medical purpose. I would like him to tell that to a woman who had an abortion by Dr. Martin Haskell in Ohio. She experienced life-threatening seizures coming out of anesthesia from an abortion performed by Dr. Haskell. Haskell did not have hospital admitting privileges, causing a serious delay in getting the necessary medical treatment for the patient.
This type of seizure, known as epilepticus is a medical emergency that is considered a life threatening condition where the brain is in a state of constant seizure that is either unending or continues to occur over a 30 minute period. In most cases, after 5 minutes of continuous seizure, the condition will not let up without medical intervention. After just 5 minutes of constant brain seizure, damage can start to occur to the neurons.
In the case of the mother under Haskell’s care, witnesses reported seeing the paramedics giving her life supporting treatment on the scene before she was transported to a nearby hospital.
However, three days after Judge Yeakel made his ruling, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled the Texas law as legal. The decision of the court was unanimous, which is being hailed a substantial victory for Texas conservatives. Greg Abbott, Texas State Attorney General commented about the ruling, saying:
“This unanimous decision is a vindication of the careful deliberation by the Texas Legislature to craft a law to protect the health and safety of Texas women.”
The ruling of the 5th Circuit allows the Texas law to go immediately into effect, resulting in the closing of 12 of the state’s 32 remaining abortion clinics. The doctors working at these clinics do not have hospital admitting privileges, thus the clinics will be forced to close their doors.
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America says the battle is not yet over and that they will continue to challenge the legality of the Texas law. Richards stated:
“This fight is far from over. This restriction clearly violates Texas women’s constitutional rights by drastically reducing access to safe and legal abortion statewide.”
Most likely, the Texas and Mississippi laws will end up before the US Supreme Court. When that happens, there is no doubt that the Obama administration will do everything they can to help the Planned Parenthood side of the issue. When it does, I hope that Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott stands before the US Supreme Court holding the 10th Amendment in his hand to use in his argument before the court. He needs to argue that the 10th Amendment gives states more rights over supposed federal matters and that states hold a degree of sovereignty, meaning that the federal government has no legal right to challenge their state law that was passed to protect women’s safety and health.