March 9, 2020
The Supreme Court has heard arguments last week in the June Medical Services vs. Russo case on whether or not to uphold Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act, Act 620, which requires abortion clinics to have admitting privileges with a local hospital.
This act was passed in 2014 but has not taken effect due to litigation from the opposition, who are claiming that such a safety regulation would cause an “undue burden” to women’s abortion access and would violate precedent set in the Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt case that struck down a similar bill in Texas (HB 2).
Louisiana Act 620 is not like the Texas regulation HB 2, which placed building requirements on surgical abortion clinics for the sake of emergency preparedness and included hospital admitting privileges. Louisiana’s law includes abortion clinics under the same standard as any other ambulatory surgical center in having hospital admitting privileges.
Sadly, Act 620 “was passed in 2014 in response to the extensive health and safety violations found in Louisiana abortion clinics. Louisiana already requires doctors who perform surgery at outpatient surgical centers to have hospital privileges. Act 620 extends that requirement to include abortionists.”
One would think that an industry that has marketed itself as “women’s health care” would not want to be treated differently than any other outpatient surgical health care center, but they do.
As documented in Statements of Deficiencies by the Louisiana Department of Health, abortion clinic violations in the state include but are not limited to: failures to verify the medical history of patients, failure to monitor how long or how much nitrous oxide was given to patients, failure to perform or document a physical exam of each patient, failure to properly store and safeguard medications, failure to have qualified personnel administer anesthesia, failure to properly sterilize equipment, and failure to ensure that single-use IV fluid was used only once.
With such “deficiencies” that have been ongoing for decades, emergency cases in these abortion clinics were inevitable.
As recently as March 15, 2019, Delta Clinic of Baton Rouge botched a woman’s abortion, which caused her to bleed so profusely that she was at the point of hemorrhaging. Because the clinic was not equipped to handle her medical emergency, her situation grew worse by the time she reached a hospital, and she had to have a hysterectomy:
…the facility did not have adequate emergency supplies on hand, such as IV fluids, to stabilize their patient … After the patient was transferred to a Baton Rouge hospital, the complications resulted in the patient requiring a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingectomy, removal of both fallopian tubes, for postoperative hemorrhage. Louisiana law requires that Outpatient Abortion Facilities (OAF) have medical equipment and medications for basic life support, including IV fluids, until emergency medical services arrive. The necessary medications were not provided by Delta Clinic, and upon arrival at the hospital, the patient received four units of blood over the course of three days.
Women have died, and many others have experienced life-altering complications as a result of the failure of these clinics to adhere to basic health care standards. To read more about the inability of these clinics to care for women, see Americans United for Life’s amicus brief in the June Medical Services vs. Russo (formerly Gee) case.
Act 620 only requires abortion clinics to have admitting privileges with a local hospital, which, according to the Louisiana Attorney General’s office, three abortion clinics already have (currently there are only four abortion clinics in Louisiana). The fact that these abortion clinics cannot comply with established health and safety standards proves that Act 620 was a necessity.
Act 620 was a bi-partisan effort that passed the Louisiana Legislature by an 88-5 vote in the House of Representatives and a 34-3 vote in the Senate. When challenged by the abortion industry, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of the act. Unhappy with the court’s decision, they appealed, but by a 9-6 vote, the Fifth Circuit denied rehearing the case, ruling in favor of Louisiana.
Yet, the abortion industry is now challenging this common-sense law in front of the highest court in the land, which proves that they are content with providing back-alley abortion “care” for women.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, along with many other American medical institutions who support the abortion industry, have filed an amicus brief in opposition to Louisiana’s law. In their medical opinion, having hospital admitting privileges for abortion clinics are not necessary:
There is no medical benefit to a local admitting privileges requirement for abortion providers. Abortion is an extremely safe procedure, and patients who obtain abortions rarely require hospitalization.
To say that the problem is rare doesn’t mean that it never happens, and the chances of a medical emergency happening are likely higher at clinics that can’t even pass state health inspections.
Ironically, these supporters are the very same “experts” who claim abortions are “extremely” safe. In reality, they are protecting abortion because it’s extremely lucrative. The opposition to Act 620 by the abortion industry and medical professionals shows they don’t really care about women, particularly black women, which make up for the majority of the abortion clientele.
To be continued…