Two Dallas Abortion Clinics in Danger of Closing After Hospital Yanks Docs' Admitting Privileges

Categories: Healthcare

UniversityGeneralHospital.jpg
University General Hospital
Update: Associate District Judge Sheryl McFarlin ordered UGH to temporarily reinstate the doctors' admitting privileges pending an April 30 hearing.

Last month, an appeals court upheld a key provision of Texas' new anti-abortion law requiring doctors performing the procedure to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. A women's health clinic in El Paso was the first casualty. Two Dallas providers, Abortion Advantage and the Routh Street Women's Clinic could be next.

The doctors overseeing the two respective clinics, Lamar Robinson and Jasbir Ahluwalia, respectively, are suing in an attempt to keep that from happening. They say Dallas' University General Hospital granted, and then illegally revoked, their admitting privileges in violations of state law.

According to their lawsuit, neither Robinson nor Ahluwalia had hospital admitting privileges before the state Legislature passed HB 2 in 2013. They applied for privileges only after the bill became law. UGH granted Robinson's application in December and Ahluwalia's a month later.

UGH CEO Chuck Schuetz had second thoughts once anti-abortion protesters started picketing his hospital. According to the doctors' lawsuit, he assured protesters that the facility was pro-life and sent Robinson and Ahluwalia a letter dated March 31.

"[I]t has come to our attention that you perform 'voluntary interruption of pregnancies' as a regular part of your medical practice," he wrote, claiming that "performing these procedures is disruptive to the business and reputation of UGH."

Up until now, the main argument against HB 2 has been on constitutional grounds, but that strategy has gotten nowhere, stymied by the conservative 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Robinson and Ahluwalia are trying a different approach. Their challenge is filed in state court and based on state law. In a bit of legal jiu jitsu, the doctors take a provision of Texas abortion law preventing discrimination against health care providers who refuse to perform abortions and try to turn it to their advantage.

The statute reads like this:

A hospital or health care facility may not discriminate against a physician, nurse, staff member, or employee because of the person's willingness to participate in an abortion procedure at another facility.

Their interpretation of the anti-discrimination provision as applying to doctors both willing and unwilling to perform abortions is bolstered by a brief recently filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott:

Texas law....ensur[es] that doctors who perform abortions will not encounter discrimination from the hospitals that must decide whether to award them admitting privileges. Not only does Texas law expressly prohibit hospitals from discriminating against doctors who perform abortions, it also confers a private right of action on victims of this unlawful discrimination.

Robinson and Ahluwalia have stopped performing abortions since they learned their admitting privileges had been revoked. Both have had to cancel dozens of appointments and will likely be forced to close their practices if their admitting privileges aren't restored.

Here's the letter the doctors received from UGH:

University General Abortion Provider Letter

My Voice Nation Help
16 comments
cajunscouse9
cajunscouse9

I wonder if the baby see's this as an advantage?

MikeWestEast
MikeWestEast

Does University General Hospital do obstetric procedures?  If not, then it is pretty cut and dried.  Additionally they cited the entire disruptive passage, but the key line is at the very end.  They can choose not to perform certain procedures if they do not have capability to handle complications from those procedures.  It affects their insurance rates.


If the hospital was a world center of neonatal oncology and surgery, it would be a different story.

J_A_
J_A_

Make em say UGH

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

The continued assault on women's sexual freedoms is going to make it harder to turn this state blue. Maybe that's the intent.

anneDallas
anneDallas

UGH? (University General Hospital)

......... UGGHHHHHH.

UGH and Abortion Advantage: both are exceptionally ill-advised nomenclature in my purview.

bvckvs
bvckvs topcommenter

So - the Republicans thought they were protecting anti-abortion doctors by creating this statute, but inadvertently ended up protecting the pro-abortion ones as well.

I love the way that worked out.  It'll be interesting to see them struggle to reword it so that only faith-healers are protected.

James_the_P3
James_the_P3

"Abortion Advantage" has to be the most ridiculous name for a business enterprise I've heard.

cajunscouse9
cajunscouse9

Abortion Advantage. almost a laughable name if it wasn't such a serious subject.

J_A_
J_A_

It really is distracting.

Greg820
Greg820

@anneDallas   I saw their billboard on the way to work and broke out laughing.  No one in the entire chain of command thought "Ugh?"

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@bvckvs

There won't be a struggle, they'll simply keep re-wording the law, enforcing or choosing to not enforce provisions at their sole discretion, and basically doing what they want - because the aim is to eliminate or reduce abortion as much as possible, how they get there makes no difference.

Democrats and women who feel sexually repressed by the republicans will just have to get over their stages of grief, anger, denial and what have you, and they'll eventually have to simply accept that the republicans are in charge - they are in power.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@James_the_P3

At least they have the taste to not open a drive-thru.

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

@TheRuddSki Or, the people who disagree with the law can move to another state more accommodating to their viewpoint...

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...