By Dave Andrusko
Since I unfortunately cannot be in Montgomery, Alabama, to follow the pro-abortion lawsuit being heard by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson, I have to rely on news accounts which can lag behind.
But so many revealing comments have already been made it’s important that you hear what critics of the law are saying about abortion in general, Alabama’s HB57, in particular. The law requires abortionists to have admitting privileges in a local hospital.
First, the most startling (to the unbiased ear) comment. It was provided Wednesday by Dr. Paul Fine, an OB-GYN and medical director of a Planned Parenthood affiliate serving Texas and Louisiana.
There are so few complications that require a woman to go to an emergency room , he told the court, that “It’s safer than getting a shot of penicillin.”
Judging by the news account, attorneys for the state were thoroughly prepared. For example, Assistant Attorney General Jim Davis asked–even if there were relatively few complications–don’t those women “deserve good hospital care,” adding, “Would you agree we need procedures to protect those women?”
“An ER doctor will do the treatment that needs to be done,” Fine responded. So much for continuity of care.
George Smith, chairman of the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners, testified Wednesday afternoon. He said, according to Brian Lyman of the Montgomery examiner, “that one of the board’s aims is to ensure patients who experience complications from medical procedures get adequate follow-up care.
“’The board’s feeling is the person who does the procedure is responsible if there’s a complication,’” Smith said.
Thursday’s exchanges were even more intriguing, and showed how abortion clinics really operate.
Two abortionists who work in Planned Parenthood clinics in Birmingham and Mobile testified that they could not obtain admitting privileges at local hospitals. Like many abortionists, they fly in. Neither wanted to relocate, blaming that on “local hostility to the procedures they perform and career opportunities elsewhere,” Lyman reported.
Most of day’s fireworks surrounded the exchanges between “Dr. Roe” who was not identified in court (except to say she was “medical director of Planned Parenthood Southeast’s clinics in Birmingham and Mobile”) and Assistant Attorney General Margaret Fleming.
For starters, as Max Reiss reported for WSFA TV observed, “Roe’s credibility was hurt on several occasions when she couldn’t recall, especially when compared to other events she remembered during earlier testimony.” But there was much more.
As we reported earlier in the week, attorneys for the state brought out that last year two employees of Planned Parenthood’s Birmingham office were found selling abortion drugs in the parking lot. Everyone—except Roe—was fired. (Staci Fox, Planned Parenthood Southeast CEO, testified on Monday that she expected the facility to be reopened within a month.)
The following is a lengthy, but helpful quote from Lyman’s story:
Fleming asked Roe if the clinic had followed up with patients following the closing of the facility in January, saying there was no documentation of follow-up calls to patients in the medical records of the facility. Fleming also said that the staff delegated to make the phone calls had been dismissed.
Roe said the clinic did do the follow ups. “It was not documented, but the calls were made,” she said.
Fleming also questioned whether the clinic’s back-up physician had a substantial role in the clinic, citing Roe’s earlier testimony that she would refer patients experiencing complications to a hospital. Roe said she made those judgments on a case-by-case basis.
Fleming also pressed Roe on whether the Birmingham clinic was in compliance with Alabama Department of Public Health regulations that require physicians performing abortions to contact emergency room doctors when patients are admitted with complications. Roe said the clinic “facilitates and complies” with physicians in treatment.
“Your own protocol is inconsistent with the rules of the Alabama Department of Public Health in this case,” Fleming said.
“Yes, ma’am,” Roe replied.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit recently upheld a similar Texas law. Comparable laws have been passed in Mississippi and Wisconsin but have been challenged by the usual suspects. A trial over Wisconsin’s law starts May 27.