A Pro-Life Law Flying Under the Banner of ‘Women’s Health’
The latest assault on abortion rights is taking place in Tennessee, where a new law that goes into effect on July 1 will require abortion providers to register at local hospitals. Though it seems mundane and bureaucratic, the law is actually part of an increasingly successful strategy for quietly destroying access to abortion.
The Tennessee bill, called the Life Defense Act of 2012, would require every Tennessee practitioner who performs abortions to be a member of a local hospital. Proponents of the bill claim that obtaining “admitting privileges”—that is, obtaining member status—better positions doctors to deal with possible medical complications. The aim, they assert, is to ensure the safety of women. But it’s easy to perceive ulterior motives.
First, the admitting privileges standard isn’t applied to any other outpatient procedure. “[C]osmetic surgeons, dentists and oral surgeons, urologists, orthopedic surgeons—basically any other medical professionals,” are exempt from this standard, according to Jeff Teague, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Middle and East Tennessee. Second, hospitals are allowed wide discretion in their membership. In Tennessee, this means that many hospitals will close their doors to doctors who provide abortions.