November 2, 2013
THE CULTURE WARS ARE A ROUT:
In Reversal, Court Allows Texas Law on Abortion (ERIK ECKHOLM, 11/02/13, NY Times)
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 2, 2013 8:20 AMIn blocking the requirement on Monday, Judge Lee Yeakel of United States District Court in Austin accepted the argument of the clinics, and many doctors and national medical associations, that requiring admitting privileges had no bearing on safety because in the rare event of an emergency, patients will be rushed to the nearest hospital and treated the same way regardless.The requirement is likely to be unconstitutional, he declared, because it is "without a rational basis and places a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion."But the appeals panel found just the opposite: that the rule is likely to be constitutional because it serves a legitimate state interest in regulating doctors and does not impose an "undue burden" on the right to abortion.The appeals court said that the admitting privilege rule might "increase the cost of accessing an abortion provider and decrease the number of physicians available to perform abortions."But it cited a Supreme Court statement in an earlier abortion case that if a regulation serves a valid purpose, the fact that it has "the incidental effect of making it more difficult or more expensive to procure an abortion cannot be enough to invalidate it."In Texas and other states, especially in smaller cities and rural areas, abortion clinics often use visiting doctors who may be highly qualified but do not meet the rules of local hospitals for admitting privileges. Many hospitals, for example, grant privileges only to doctors who admit a certain number of patients a year, while emergency hospitalizations after abortions are rare.Some hospitals are unwilling to make formal arrangements with abortion providers because of religious reasons or because they fear protests.