admitting privileges

"The right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision." So said the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973's Roe v. Wade decision. But 42 years later in federal court in Baton Rouge, lawyers working for major policy groups on either side of the issue are arguing about restrictions on that personal private decision.


Sue Lincoln

Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals held a public hearing Thursday, accepting comments on proposed regulations for licensing abortion clinics. No one spoke in favor of the new rules; instead, all the comments were in opposition.


Louisiana's new abortion law requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. But a lawsuit challenged the law on the basis that the requirement was medically unnecessary and would result in the closure of the state's abortion clinics. A federal judge on Sunday temporarily blocked the measure.

Even if you're trying, it's tough to keep score of what's happening with various lawsuits challenging some state abortion laws.

States led by anti-abortion governors and legislatures have been passing a broad array of measures over the past few years aimed at making the procedure more difficult for women to obtain.

About two dozen states enacted 70 such measures in 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Those laws range from imposing waiting periods to requiring ultrasounds to limiting the use of the "abortion pill" mifepristone, or RU486.

Doctors providing abortions in Louisiana will need admitting privileges at a nearby hospital according to a law signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal Thursday. 

Supporters of Louisiana’s new law say it’s aimed at protecting a woman in the event something goes wrong with an abortion.  

Advocates for access say the requirements could lead to the closure of all the clinics providing abortions in Louisiana, except for two in north Louisiana whose doctors already have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. 

 With a 34 to 3 vote, the full Senate has approved HB 388, requiring doctors who perform any abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

“There are parts of the state where there is no hospital within 30 miles, period,” protested New Orleans Senator J.P. Morrell. “That would make it impossible for there to be procedures done in rural areas.”

Mississippi's only abortion clinic is fighting to remain open in the face of ever-tightening state regulations. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans hears arguments Monday in a dispute over a state law that requires abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges.