The U.S. Supreme Court case Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt (formerly v. Cole) centered on two provisions of the clinic shutdown law:
- A mandate that all health centers that provide abortions comply with onerous and medically unnecessary building requirements for hospital-style ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), and
- A requirement that doctors who provide abortions obtain hospital admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
These requirements had nothing to do with women’s health and everything to do with shutting down abortion providers. In fact, medical experts like the American Medical Association and American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists opposed this law because it didn’t improve safety — just the opposite. It hurt women by blocking access to safe medical care.
For proof of the real motives behind the law, just look at anti-abortion politician David Dewhurst's 2013 tweet about the Senate version of Texas’ clinic shutdown law:
Remember: Abortion has a 99% safety record.
Remodeling a health center to become an ASC is medically unnecessary and expensive — it involves complex HVAC systems, down-to-the-inch dimensions for operating rooms, and specifications for outfitting janitor’s closets. The result of such restrictions is simply fewer providers.
Same thing goes for admitting privileges:
Abortion providers already have plans in the rare case of an emergency to ensure patient safety. Forcing them to obtain admitting privileges can set up a catch-22 if the only local hospital is hostile to abortion access due to its religious affiliation or political pressure — reasons that have nothing to do with quality of medical care.