April 18, 2013 — A Texas Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that would require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles, the AP/Longview News-Journal reports. The measure would apply to doctors who offer surgical or medication abortions.
In many parts of Texas, the only hospitals are religiously affiliated and do not grant admitting privileges to abortion providers, according to the AP/News-Journal.
Response to Bill
Stacy Wilson -- a spokesperson for the Texas Hospital Association -- said the measure "is not, in our opinion, an appropriate way" to ensure that patients can receive care at hospitals. "Requiring hospitals to credential and grant privileges to doctors who provide outpatient services is time consuming and expensive for the hospital," Wilson said, adding that hospitals are prepared to accept patients regardless of whether physicians have admitting privileges.
Merrylynn Gerstenschlager, vice president of the antiabortion-rights group Texas Eagle Forum, praised the bill, saying, "If the doctor is not competent to obtain hospital privileges, then he is not competent to perform abortions."
Gov. Rick Perry (R) has vowed to sign any abortion restrictions sent to his desk, and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst (R) pledged last week to pass major antiabortion-rights legislation this year (Tomlinson, AP/Longview News-Journal, 4/17).