WASHINGTON, D.C. (05-27-15) – Americans United for Life filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) legal brief this week in Planned Parenthood v. Schimel, urging the Seventh Circuit to overturn a decision invalidating Wisconsin’s admitting privileges requirement for abortion providers. “Requiring hospital admitting privileges for abortionists is a life-saving law,” noted AUL President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest. “The purpose of this health and safety standard is to have a plan in place should a woman experience a life-threatening crisis during an abortion. You would think making a plan for keeping women safe would be something everyone could agree on. Sadly, the abortion industry puts profits before women every time.”
Admitting privileges requirements have been on the books for nearly 30 years and are currently in place in more than a dozen states. Consider this: Abortion providers routinely claim that 2.5 percent of women who have a first-trimester abortion “undergo minor complications,” while fewer than 0.3 percent experience a complication requiring hospitalization. Taking these conservative estimates at face value and using the latest abortion statistics from Guttmacher Institute (for 2011), that would mean, across the U.S., 26,500 women experienced complications and approximately 3180 women required post-abortion hospitalization in 2011.
In fact, the National Abortion Federation (NAF) has previously conceded the appropriateness and patient safety basis of an admitting privileges requirement. NAF’s publication, “Having an Abortion? Your Guide to Good Care” (2000), provides that abortion patients searching for a doctor should find one who, “[i]n the case of an emergency,” can “admit patients to a nearby hospital (no more than 20 minutes away).”
“It’s unconscionable that the abortion industry fights in court to stop life-saving guidelines, rather than putting women first,” said Dr. Yoest. “These numbers represent a significant risk and a serious public health concern to women across the country.”
Experts have testified that there are four main benefits supporting admitting privileges requirements for abortion providers: (a) such requirements provide a more thorough evaluation mechanism of physician competency which better protect patient safety; (b) they acknowledge and enable the importance of continuity of care; (c) the requirements enhance inter-physician communication and optimize patient information transfer and complication management; and (d) they support the ethical duty of care for the operating physician to prevent patient abandonment.
AUL’s brief was filed on behalf of legislators from the States of Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas, which maintain similar admitting privileges laws. AUL’s brief, available here, demonstrated that, in striking down the Wisconsin law, the district court used an erroneous legal standard that contradicted established Supreme Court precedent. When considered in light of Supreme Court directives, it is clear that the State of Wisconsin has a legitimate interest in protecting women from the outset of pregnancy and that a commonsense regulation aimed at protecting women’s health through the admitting privileges of an abortion provider is not an “undue burden” on a woman’s “right” to choose an abortion.
To learn more about the health risks of abortion for women, click here