Testimony ends in lawsuit against Alabama law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges


By Dave Andrusko

North Carolina obstetrician Dr. James Thorp

North Carolina obstetrician Dr. James Thorp

Testimony ended Thursday in a lawsuit challenging Alabama’s 2013 law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges in a local hospital. Testimony ended May 30 in a challenge to Wisconsin’s comparable legislation.

Yesterday, according to the Montgomery Advertiser’s Brian Lyman, “Two doctors testified that they believed requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges would protect women’s health.”

As we shall see in a moment, the testimony of Dr. Geoffrey Keyes was particularly important. Keyes is president of the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities.

As NRL News Today reported, Planned Parenthood, which operates abortion clinics in Birmingham and Mobile, and the Montgomery-based Reproductive Health Services, argue that their fly-in abortionists cannot meet the kind of requirements that hospitals look for.

“The clinics say the rate of complications is so low that most doctors [abortionists] could not admit the volume of patients needed to maintain privileges,” Lyman explains. What does that mean?

That abortion clinics are supposedly so safe the abortionist knows he will be rejected when he asks for admitting privileges because so few of his patients will have been admitted to a hospital. And being rejected (because they were so good!) would call their professionalism into question!

Click here to read the May issue of
National Right to Life News,
the “pro-life newspaper of record.”

However Assistant Attorney General Jim Davis countered this convoluted argument by saying ”that hospitals would only report rejections of admission applications to a national database if there was an issue of patient safety involved.”

Keyes has testified in favor of similar laws in Wisconsin and Mississippi. He told the court via video link yesterday morning that his organization “’would not look favorably’ on doctors who, like those at local abortion clinics, travel from elsewhere to perform the procedures,” Lyman reported.

“If you perform procedures, and someone goes to the hospital, you know what transpired in the procedure,” Keyes said. “You’re not starting from scratch. You’ve been there in the whole process.”

Keyes added, “There’s no continuity of care, no credentialing of physicians in the community.”

John Thorp, a North Carolina-based OB-GYN, also testified. Should complications develop, Thorp said he believed the law would enable proper communication.

“It’s not that I have to fix the complications,” Thorp said. “It’s communication about that situation that helps patient care.”

A similar Texas law was upheld unanimously this year by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Other comparable laws have been passed in Mississippi and, as mentioned above, Wisconsin and have been challenged by the usual suspects.

Decisions in the Wisconsin and Alabama lawsuits are not expected for months.

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