AUSTIN, TX, February 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Texas abortionist has temporarily lost his medical license after being accused of performing 268 abortions in violation of a state law that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.
Dr. Theodore M. Herring Jr. of Houston continued to perform abortions despite not having the ability to admit patients to a hospital within 30 miles of his office, the Texas Department of State Health Services declared during an undercover inspection last December.
Herring's license will be suspended until further notice, possibly until the board's next meeting in May, Texas Right to Life reports.
“Texas Right to Life is proud that the Texas Medical Board has upheld the rule of law by taking this disciplinary action against Dr. Herring,” the Lone Star pro-life organization said in a press release sent to all national media outlets.
“Dr. Herring is not the only abortionist practicing illegally in Texas, and we encourage the Texas Medical Board and the Department of State Health Services to continue fully enforcing the life-saving safety policies passed in House Bill 2,” it said.
The law has been part of a roller coaster of legal challenges, injunctions, and reinstatements. The law launched the national career of Wendy Davis, who successfully filibustered for hours against its passage.
Gov. Rick Perry then called a special session of the legislature to pass the bill, which also puts into place health regulations and bans abortions after 20 weeks on the grounds of fetal pain.
Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and a coalition of Texas abortionists sued over two of the law's key provisions, including the admitting privileges regulation.
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In late October, U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel struck down the law's regulations on admitting privileges, saying that forcing abortionists to have admitting privileges would do nothing to reduce patient abandonment, such as Planned Parenthood was accused of in the case of Tonya Reaves.
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans overturned Yeakel's decision on the matter of admitting privileges just three days later. The abortion providers then appealed to the Supreme Court.
In November, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that the law could be implemented during the appeals process, saying that the admitting privileges requirement does not place an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
A three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will ultimately rule on the law's merits.
Eight states have passed laws requiring admitting privileges nationally. In addition to Texas, similar laws are in effect in Tennessee and Utah. Such laws are still being adjudicated in Alabama, Kansas, Mississippi and Wisconsin.
Abortion proponents said the Texas law could close dozens of abortion facilities across the state, a process that could ripple across the nation. Texas legislators said the likelihood of a mass exodus of abortion providers was slim.
As LifeSiteNews reported, abortionists at North Dakota's last abortion facility received admitting privileges at a Fargo hospital on Thursday, allowing the business to stay open.
“The recent closures of abortion clinics, even if temporary, prove that H.B. 2 does have a major impact in protecting women and their unborn children from substandard care at abortion clinics,” said Elizabeth Graham, director of Texas Right to Life.