Saturday, April 25, 2009

safety vs. restricted access: should abortionists be required to have hospital admitting privileges

From Shari Rudavsky in the Indy Star (hat tip: C-J)...

Indiana could soon join a handful of states to adopt laws requiring doctors who perform abortions to secure hospital admitting privileges, a measure favored by the national Right to Life movement.

Opponents contend that the rules are a way to whittle the state's already small number of doctors who perform abortions; proponents say the laws are needed to ensure patient safety.

The record shows that both positions may be overblown.

Eight states have similar laws.

In Arizona, Planned Parenthood, a leading reproductive rights advocate, helped write that state's rules from its own standards, said spokeswoman Jolinda Nestor.

"In some markets, the goal is to shut down abortion providers," Nestor said. "That wasn't the case (here). It wasn't ideological."...

It may have been a matter of political economy: note that PP may gains by restricting other suppliers in the market-- a standard case of using the government to restrict competition.

Logistics could interfere with an abortion provider's ability to gain hospital rights, said Betty Cockrum, Planned Parenthood of Indiana CEO.

Many hospitals require doctors with admitting privileges to live within a 30-minute drive of the facility.

But in Indiana, which has nine abortion clinics in five counties, some abortion providers must travel long distances to the clinics they serve, she said....

Indiana Right to Life lobbyist Sue Swayze, who helped write the bill when it was proposed a few years ago, said the legislation has more to do with patient safety than restricting access to abortion.

"This is after a woman has had an abortion," she said. "It's not restricting her right to one; it's giving her the right to have the same follow-up care most of us have when we have surgery."...


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