The law that Wendy Davis unsuccessfully fought so hard to keep from passing stipulated, among other things, that abortionists must have admitting privileges at a local hospital. This, according to abortion advocates, is a major problem, because most hospitals don’t want to associate with abortionists. Given the astounding regularity with which abortionists are found to practice under shoddy, unsanitary, unsafe, and negligent conditions, that’s not altogether surprising. Now, two Texas abortionists are suing University General Hospital Dallas, claiming that it violates discrimination laws.
During debate over HB 2, reproductive rights supporters predicted that hospitals would refuse to grant privileges to abortion providers out of fear of retaliation from anti-choice protesters; in subsequent court challenges to the law, the State of Texas argued that because federal and state laws prevent hospitals from discriminating against abortion providers, doctors who provide abortions would have plenty of legal recourse in the unlikely event they were denied privileges.
Now, Robinson and Ahluwalia are suing on precisely those anti-discrimination statutes, alleging that UGHD revoked their privileges not only because they are abortion providers, but at the behest of anti-choice activists who threatened the hospital with negative publicity if it continued to employ the doctors.
The hospital claims that the hospital does not provide gynecology services and, as such, is not able to treat complications from abortions. The letter that they sent to the two abortionists, Lamar Robinson and Jasbir Ahluwalia, says that granting them admitting privileges would be “disruptive to the business and reputation” of the hospital. They have already received threats of protests, which the hospital claims violates their bylaws of disruptive behavior, as well as damages the hospital’s reputation.
According to the hospital, this is in their best interests – and it’s likely true, considering that the majority of Americans (including women) oppose abortion and supported the bill that requires abortionists to obtain admitting privileges.
Legally, the hospital may not have a leg to stand on. But if that’s the case, should it be? If the abortionists win their suit, then the message will be sent that hospitals are required to grant admitting privileges to abortionists. Should that really be the precedent that’s set? Should a hospital not be able to choose whether or not it wants to allow abortionists to be affiliated with it? It makes sense that the abortionists themselves want to push for this to become mandated, because – as late-term abortionist Susan Robinson pointed out – other doctors don’t like abortionists. They look down on them. A hospital, which is in the business of saving lives, shouldn’t be required to associate with a person who is in the business of taking them.