The battleground in the abortion battle in Texas is now shifting to the arcane issue of granting admitting rights at hospitals, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.
Two Texas doctors are suing after their admitting privileges were revoked by a Dallas-area hospital, which makes the abortion clinics they work for unable to perform abortions under a 2013 state law.
"That is discrimination under the terms of a Texas state statute which is specifically designed to protect against that sort of discrimination," Esha Bhandari, the attorney for the doctors, told 1200 WOAI news.
The new abortion laws, which have been upheld by a federal appeals court, require all abortion clinics to have physicians on duty who have admitting privileges at a hospital within thirty miles of the clinic. Pro life groups have been pressuring hospitals, especially hospitals with Catholic affiliations, to revoke the privileges of doctors who perform abortions, arguing that it is a way to cut down on a practice that the Church considers immoral.
For that reason, there is no functioning abortion clinic in the overwhelmingly Catholic Rio Grande Valley.
But Bhandari says this decision should not be up to hospital administrators.
"This puts so much power in the hands of hospitals to determine who can and who cannot provide reproductive health care in Texas," she said.
The doctors' privileges have been temporarily re-instated until a court can hear the lawsuit. But pro life groups predict that doctors will simply stop performing abortions, assuming that the hassle of having to defend their admitting privileges, which are critical to their practice, outweighs the salaries they are paid by abortion providers.
The hospitals say they revoked the doctors' privileges because they don't have the facilities to deal with the possible complications from abortion.