Judge blocks hospital privileges law in Louisiana
BATON ROUGE, Louisiana, January 28, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The same judge who ordered taxpayers to be on the hook for funding Planned Parenthood has ruled that abortionists don't need admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge John W. deGravelles ruled that the Gov. Bobby Jindal-era law put unnecessary difficulties on abortionists. The Associated Press quoted deGravelles as saying there is "political, religious, and social hostility against abortion" and that despite the state's argument that the law would enhance the health of women, evidence by opponents of the law shows "a very different reality."
Among that evidence was the opinion of a doctor at Tulane Medical Center about the efforts of an abortionist to get privileges at the hospital. "This is just ridiculous. I can't believe the state has come to this," the doctor wrote.
According to deGravelles, another anonymous abortionist's attempts to get the same privileges at a different hospital "reads like a chapter in Franz Kafka's 'The Trial'" – a reference to the 1925 book in which the protagonist is arrested, harassed, and eventually killed by an invisible, unknown authority for unknown crimes.
Another hospital claims it got threatening letters after an abortionist got admitting privileges.
However, the state's recently elected attorney general, Jeff Landry, said in a statement Tuesday, "We plan to appeal the ruling for the betterment of our state and its citizens."
"Justice is blind; no one, especially not Planned Parenthood, is above the law," Landry said yesterday as part of an announcement that his office was moving forward with the appeals process. "Planned Parenthood should not receive special treatment. The State will treat them in the same manner as we do all other Medicaid providers."
Introduced by a Democrat in the state legislature, the Louisiana law covers more than admitting privileges, such as information on what women must be given before having an abortion and regulations on abortion medications. The abortionist lawsuit did not address those aspects of the law.
Supporters of admitting privilege provisions, including those in the Texas law that goes before the Supreme Court in March, say the standards provide more safety for women because doctors will have relationships at nearby hospitals in case women are harmed during an abortion. "The need for admitting privileges requirements is clear," Denise Burke, vice president of legal affairs at Americans United for Life, emailed The Washington Post in 2014.
Opponents say the laws create unreasonable burdens, since many hospitals don't want to be involved in the abortion debate – especially those with religious affiliations and those funded by the public. Additionally, many abortionists travel across state lines, making it difficult for abortionists to get the minimum number of hours to gain admitting privileges, according to the Post.
Shortly after deGravelles's decision, Center for Reproductive Rights CEO Nancy Northup said, "Today's victory guarantees Louisiana women will continue to have access to critical health care services in the face of relentless political attacks on their health and rights."
Landry stated that he is "committed to enforcing our state's pro-life and pro-woman laws."
"My office and I will continue to do all we legally can to protect the unborn, their mothers, and all Louisiana women," said Landry, who spoke at the 2016 Louisiana Life March and participated in this year's D.C. March for Life.