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ACOG President, L.A. Times Editorial Praise Ruling Against Ala. Antiabortion-Rights Law

August 6, 2014 — An opinion piece from the president of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a Los Angeles Times editorial discuss recent court decisions on state laws that require abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals.

ACOG President: Admitting Privileges Laws 'Clearly Not Motivated by Women's Safety'

A federal court's decision to strike down an Alabama law that required abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals "is an important win for American women and for the practice of medicine," ACOG President John Jennings writes in a CNN opinion piece.

Jennings explains that the requirements "do not make women safer" but in fact "jeopardize women's safety by forcing qualified physicians to stop providing abortions for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with medical safety" and by "potentially forcing [women] to seek abortion services later in their pregnancy."

"Abortion is already extremely safe, and for the vast majority of abortions, hospitals do not need to play a role in the patient's care," Jennings writes, noting that the procedure "has a more than 99% safety record, with a less than 0.3% risk of complications that could merit hospital treatment." He adds that because women's health centers have procedures in place for rare emergencies, admitting privileges "don't have any effect on a woman's ability to receive emergency care if she needs it."

Laws like the Alabama measure "are clearly not motivated by women's safety, but by making access to safe, legal abortion difficult -- even impossible," Jennings adds (Jennings, CNN, 8/4).

L.A. Times Editorial: Admitting Privileges Laws 'Underhanded Attempts' To Cut Abortion Access

Admitting privileges requirements, "masquerading as measures to protect the health of women, are nothing more than underhanded attempts to obstruct access to abortion services," a Los Angeles Times editorial states.

The editorial notes that in "every state where such a law has been passed, it would result in the closure of at least some abortion clinics, making it substantially more difficult for women to get the reproductive healthcare to which they are constitutionally entitled." The editorial cites recently blocked laws in Alabama and Mississippi, as well as an admitting privileges requirement in effect in Texas and another that could take effect in Wisconsin "pending a court decision."

"For states to restrict abortion providers in a way that they don't restrict other providers is unnecessary, unfair to women seeking legal abortions, and an obvious ploy to curtail abortions," the editorial continues (Los Angeles Times, 8/5).