Texas legislators brilliantly defend the need for abortionists to have admitting privileges, and for abortion facilities to meet ASC standards


By Dave Andrusko

There have been so many interruptions—all accomplishing important goals—that I have not had a chance to finish a brief submitted to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit by 69 pro-life Texas elected officials. But I’ve gotten far enough to be reminded of some truths that all of us, I suspect, might too often forget.

Quick background. Whole Woman’s Health v. Lakey is still another challenge by pro-abortionists to Texas’ 2013 omnibus HR2 pro-life bill. That’s the bill that catapulted an obscure state Senator into the media spotlight. Wendy Davis’ filibuster made her (and her pink sneakers) an abortion “icon.”

Davis was so puffed up with her celebrity status that she took on the pro-life attorney general Greg Abbott to be the successor to pro-life Gov. Rick Perry. When the dust settled, Davis was beaten by a couple of votes—actually almost a million votes.


We’ve tried to untangle all the threads, but pro-abortions are so busy weaving new ones, if you get into too much depth about the numerous lawsuits brought against HR2, you risk totally confusing people. So…

Suffice it to say, the case is a challenge to two provisions: that abortionists have admitting privileges at a local hospital; and that abortion facilities meet the structural requirements applicable to ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).

The brief reminds us how very important the fallout was from the trial and conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell. Convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter, Gosnell brought the ugly side of the abortion industry—and to the almost complete lack of oversight– into the public spotlight.

The brief talks about how that influenced the Texas legislators—as it should have: “HB2’s supporters specifically identified HB2 as helping to prevent Gosnell-like instances of substandard care.”

The brief goes on, “HB2’s supporters argued that the ‘The bill would force doctors who did not have hospital admitting privileges to upgrade their standards or stop performing abortions.’” Ah….yes!

What about the requirement that abortion facilities meet higher structural standards? The brief mentions the Philadelphia Grand Jury whose diligence in investigating Gosnell’s “House of Horrors” led to his indictment.

The grand jury found that the failure to regulate abortion facilities as ASCs contributed to the death of Karnamaya Mongar, a 41-year-old refugee. In its massive report, the Grand Jury concluded

Had [the Pennsylvania Department of Health (‘DOH’)] treated the clinic as the ambulatory surgical facility it was, DOH inspectors would have assured that the staff were all licensed, that the facility was clean and sanitary, that anesthesia protocols were followed, and that the building was properly equipped and could, at least, accommodate stretchers. Failure to comply with these standards would have given cause for DOH to revoke the facilities license to operate.

There are many, many other considerations which we’ll talk about next week. Here’s just one more for today.

The litigants are screaming that they are being unfairly singled out. The brief makes this wonderful response:

Based on the legislative facts that Amici set out in the Factual Background, Texas could rationally conclude the abortion industry’s lack of transparency calls out for heightened regulation, vis a vis other, less-politicized medical practices. Thus, claims that States target the abortion industry for unwarranted scrutiny have it precisely backwards. Texas has regulated an industry that cuts corners and hides information by requiring that this industry integrate itself into the larger medical community. In doing so, Texas has done no more than to require [quoting from a previous case]’medically competent personnel under conditions insuring maximum safety for the woman.’

Indeed! More on Monday