32 medical societies support admitting privileges – so why are abortion advocates fighting them?

The case Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt is currently being argued before the Supreme Court. It will determine whether abortion safety regulations passed in Texas stay in effect. The two points of the Texas law that will either be upheld or struck down are A) regulations that make abortion facilities meet the same safety standards as other surgical facilities and B) a requirement that all abortionists have admitting privileges at local hospitals. Because many Texas abortion centers were unable to comply with these conditions, several have closed throughout the state.

Opponents of the laws call them TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers). One regulation in particular that pro-abortion groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America find unacceptable is the requirement that abortionists have admitting privileges. They say this unreasonable demand is being unfairly imposed on the abortion business. But is this true?

In order to debunk the argument that abortion facilities are being unfairly treated with regard to admitting privileges, I’d like to point to The American College of Surgeons’ “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 plastic surgery, eye surgery, and, yes, “reproductive” surgery.

The 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 medical organizations all signed the declaration:

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.


If all of these specialties of medicine adhere to a policy that a surgeon must have admitting privileges, why shouldn’t abortion providers have to do the same? If a woman goes to have plastic surgery, she will get a doctor with admitting privileges. Why should it be any different if she goes to get an abortion?  Obviously, an admitting privilege requirement is not considered unduly burdensome or unnecessary by the 32 medical societies that approved it. Abortion facilities are not being unfairly targeted by pro-lifers. Instead, abortion centers without admitting privileges have been operating in a substandard way for years. The Texas admitting privilege requirement doesn’t single out abortion facilities – it only requires them to meet the same safety standards other outpatient surgery facilities already do.

So the next time you hear someone say that the Texas regulations are unfairly singling out abortion facilities, remember this article. Abortion supporters are ignoring the fact that admitting privileges are widely accepted as a requirement for safe surgery. 32 major medical associations from many different surgical specialties agree and already practice medicine this way. This is just another piece of evidence to show that abortion is not standard “healthcare” and that women’s safety is not a priority for the abortion industry – or for pro-abortion organizations that mislead their members into thinking that substandard service in abortion clinics is okay.

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