Admitting Privileges Requirement is Unconstitutional

A federal judge struck down part of a controversial Louisiana law requiring abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges to a hospital with obstetrical and gynecological services that is within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortion is performed.

The ruling found that the Louisiana practice of credentialing, which allows hospitals to make individual determinations on applications for admitting privileges, creates particular hardships and obstacles for abortion providers. Louisiana has no statutorily prescribed time limit within which a hospital must act on a physician’s application, which allows a hospital to effectively deny the application by simply not acting upon it which has occurred in at least one of the cases of a physician in Louisiana’s application. The ruling also found that because of the inability of doctors to gain these privileges 4 our of 6 doctors would not meet the requirements of Act 620.

 

The ruling states, “…this would result in a substantial number of Louisiana women being denied access to an abortion in this state.”

The ruling outlined the difficulty this law would cause in recruiting physicians to provide abortion care who have or could obtain admitting privileges. The lack of available providers would result in delays in care, causing a higher risk of complications, as well as a likely increase in self-performed, unlicensed and unsafe abortions.

The Court considered the compounding impact that Act 620, acting in concert with existing Louisiana law on abortion and Louisiana law and practice as it pertains to hospital admitting privileges, is unconstitutional because it places an undue burden on the right of a large fraction of Louisiana women to an abortion.

“The public interest is not served by allowing an unconstitutional law to take effect.”

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