The (oxymoronic) “Center for Reproductive Rights” and other abortionists have filed suit to prevent two of the provisions of Texas’ new requirements on doctors who perform abortions – not on the management or owners of the abortion facilities. The new law becomes effective October 29, 2013 and was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor.
From the on-line, liberal Texas Tribune:
The next stage in abortion rights advocates’ efforts to block implementation of strict new regulations on the procedure in Texas began on Friday, as the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union and a group of abortion providers across the state filed a lawsuit in federal court.
Everyone in Texas politics has been waiting for the lawsuit(s) challenging this summer’s hotly debated legislation. Surprisingly, the abortionists aren’t asking the Courts to stop the prohibition on elective abortions after 5 months or on the requirement that abortion facilities meet requirements for Ambulatory Surgical Centers. Instead, only two parts are challenged and both are requirements on the State-licensed doctors, not on the facilities.
The dispute is over the requirement that doctors personally hand the pills for medical abortions to their patients, rather than delegating the dispensing to a nurse or med tech or sending the woman home to take the pill. Doctors must also have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the office or facility where they perform abortions, so that they are able to admit their patients and care for any complications that might arise from the abortions they perform.
The agreement that doctors sign with the company that makes Mifeprex (also known as RU486 or mifepristone) was reaffirmed a year ago by the FDA. By signing the contract with the manufacturer, the doctors pledge that they will dispense the pills themselves. State law now requires them to keep their word.
As to the requirement that the doctors performing surgical and medical abortions maintain hospital privileges: It’s standard of care to expect doctors to care for complications of any intervention they perform – whether it’s setting a broken bone, cleaning an abcess or performing some outpatient surgery such as removing a mole or ingrown toenail. To fail to provide timely follow-up and/or call coverage for after-hours care is abandonment. Why should it be different for Doctors intervening to perform an abortion? When I delivered babies, those of us who were on call for Obstetrics had to be able to physically show up at the hospital (and patients’ bedside) within 30 minutes in order to maintain hospital privileges. My Family Medicine privileges (without OB) required me to be able to respond (if not appear at the hospital) within a certain time. (I can’t remember the specifics, but believe it was similar.)
We’ll see if the Austin-area federal judges think it’s appropriate for the State to regulate the physicians we license. I’m especially looking forward to hearing why the State is “unconstitutional” by holding physicians to a contract they’ve already signed.