Anti-abortion advocates have discovered they can sidestep the Constitution by attempting to regulate abortion out of existence. If they come up with arbitrary rules that are nearly impossible to adhere to, health centers will shut down and fewer and fewer women will get access to safe abortion. Poor women will be confronted with the costly hurdles to their private health care decisions.
The perfect example of this is laws requiring admitting privileges for the doctors performing abortions, and it’s now showing up in Louisiana. Admitting privileges are a form of granted permission allowing a doctor to admit and treat patients in a specific hospital as a member of its staff. Sounds reasonable, right? Wrong.
This is being sold under the guise of protecting women and keeping them safe. It’s a ruse. The American Medical Association and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose this type of dangerous restriction, writing that: “There is no medical basis to require abortion providers to have local hospital admitting privileges.”
Admitting privilege bills are currently showing up in states around the country, and we’ve seen firsthand how it can impact access. The Texas law that passed last year has already cut down the number of abortion facilities from 42 to 24 — less than six months after it became law. In Louisiana, there are currently five clinics. The bill will be heard in committee today. If it passes, it could effectively shut down three of the state’s facilities. Women in southern Louisiana could be forced to drive up to 400 miles (or 5 to 6 hours) — one way — for needed services and care.
The bottom line: fewer Louisiana women will have affordable access to care. That’s what these laws manage to accomplish — and the intent behind them.