When the Supreme Court declined to block the Texas abortion law this week—the law requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the provide services—an immediate change in policy took effect that concerns every woman in America. The new front in the war on choice can seem far away if you’re not from Texas (or Wisconsin, Alabama, Mississippi, and North Dakota where Planned Parenthood is fighting comparable restrictions). So we spoke to Planned Parenthood’s VP of Communications, Eric Ferrero, to break it down.
Because doctors shouldn’t have to pay to play.
Requiring doctors to have permission to transfer patients into a hospital in case of emergency—to have admitting privileges—sounds like a good idea, right? Actually, Ferrero says, “Getting admitting privileges can be a very political process and a very commercial process. It’s a transaction. It doesn’t have anything to do with medicine.” The example of a Catholic hospital that refuses to give privileges to a doctor that provides abortions is obvious. But the more insidious example presents itself at commercial hospitals. “A lot of hospitals give you admitting privileges based on how many patients you end up transferring to the hospital," says Ferrero: basically, based on whether or not you’re bringing them business. "Because abortion providers don’t usually need to bring someone to a hospital, because there are not frequent complications, they don’t end up bringing in a lot of patients,” Ferrero explains. So because your abortion won’t earn your hospital money (especially not compared to, say, the conservative donor who’s considering building a new wing) your doctor could be denied the right to give abortions entirely.