Texas hospital revokes abortion providers' admitting privileges to protect its "reputation"

A suit filed by the doctors alleges that the hospital was acting under pressure from anti-choice activists

By Katie McDonough
Published April 18, 2014 4:45PM (EDT)
  (Associated Press)
(Associated Press)

Texas reproductive healthcare providers are still fighting provisions of the state's sweeping abortion law because most of the new requirements -- including costly and unnecessary building renovations -- are nearly impossible to meet for many small clinics.

But it seems that even when providers can overcome these barriers and meet the standards imposed by the new law, the odds are still stacked against them. As Andrea Grimes at RH Reality Check reports, a Dallas hospital has revoked two doctors' admitting privileges -- which are required under the new law -- to protect its "reputation."

Last month, doctors Lamar Robinson and Jasbir Ahluwalia received letters alerting them that their admitting privileges had been revoked because the hospital claimed that the physicians' “practice of voluntary interruption of pregnancies creates significant exposure and damages to [the University General Hospital of Dallas'] reputation within the community."

Robinson and Ahluwalia have sued over the loss of their admitting privileges, and a judge has temporarily granted an order forcing the hospital to reinstate them until the case receives a full hearing on April 30. In the lawsuit, Robinson and Ahluwali alleged that anti-choice activists had threatened to picket the hospital just before their privileges were revoked:

On information and belief, activists opposed to abortion contacted the hospital and demanded that it revoke Dr. Robinson’s admitting privileges and sever any relationship with physicians who provide abortion. On information and belief, the hospital was threatened with an April 1, 2014 protest outside its Dallas facility if it refused to give into the activists’ demands. The day before the threatened protest, March 31, 2014, UGHD did exactly what the protestors had demanded.

As Grimes notes, federal and state laws prevent hospitals from discriminating against doctors who perform abortions.

Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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