Alabama health panel defies judge’s order, will crack down on abortionists
MONTGOMERY, Alabama, December 18, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The Alabama State Committee of Public Health voted to defy a federal judge's order, because no exceptions should be made when it comes to the safety of women undergoing abortions.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ordered special rules for Alabama abortionists, allowing them to practice surgery without complying with state laws requiring an admitting contract with a local hospital or a contract with an outside doctor who has admitting privileges. The committee concluded that the judge's ruling compromised the safety of women and voted 8-5 to ignore the judge's order.
"I don't think we should make exceptions," State Committee member Dr. Michael Flanagan said. The Dothan anesthesiologist explained that he believed there should be a common standard of care to protect patients.
The judge's order was part of a federal lawsuit filed by the West Alabama Women's Center in Tuscaloosa, which is operating under a one-year "waiver" granted by former state health officer Don Williamson, even though the business has no admitting privileges with any local hospital or contract with any doctor who has such privileges.
In August, Thompson ruled that the law requiring hospital admitting privileges will probably be found unconstitutional. Thompson was appointed to rule the district by President Jimmy Carter.
Alabama attorney A. Eric Johnston of the Alabama Prolife Coalition told LifeSiteNews, "The decision of the board demonstrates its concern for the health care of women caught up in the abortion option."
Johnston further explained to LifeSiteNews, "When we passed the Women's Health and Safety Act, we were concerned with improving and protecting women's health at Alabama abortion clinics. You have had a long history of substandard health care in many of those clinics."
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Committee member Dr. Eli Brown argued from the fear that if exceptions are not allowed for abortion surgery, then women will "have a kitchen top abortion with a clothes hanger and will still show up at the ER."
Pro-lifers say Brown underestimates women.
"Our goal was to protect those women," Johnston said. "We wanted those women to have the same standard of care that we get at our regular doctor's offices."
"The abortion clinics resisted passage of the law and resisted with lawsuits. They resisted expending the funds to have adequate and expected to health care for women," Johnston continued. "If clinics were not doing it on their own, then they must be forced to."
"Most doctors carry malpractice insurance, which expects a certain standard of care. We have seen many cases over the years where injured women have no recourse, since the abortion doctor had no insurance."
Johnston concluded, "We are grateful to the Alabama Department of health in recognizing the need to protect women. The federal judge suggested they do otherwise." Judge Thompson, according to Johnston, "believes the abortion right is more important than routine and necessary health care regulations."