The two Dallas abortion clinics that nearly saw their doors close under the state's new regulations are remaining open thanks to a settlement with the local hospital that had tried to revoke their admitting privileges. But allegations made by the clinics suggest that it was an aggressive response from anti-abortion protesters that scared the hospital into nearly denying those privileges in the first place.
Dr. Lamar Robinson at Abortion Advantage and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia of Aaron Women's Health Center were originally cleared with the University General Hospital in Dallas for admitting privileges, as is required for abortion clinics to stay open under the new rules. But then, at the end of March, both doctors got the same news that the decision was being reversed. "Your privileges have been revoked," a notice they each received from UGHD says. Somehow, the hospital explains, no one had initially realized that the doctors were planning to perform abortions.
"It has come to our attention that you perform 'voluntary interruption of pregnancies' as a regular part of your medical practice. As a matter of policy, UGHD does not perform these procedures due to the fact that obstetric procedures are not within UGDH's scope of services and that UGHD does not have the capacity to treat complications that may arise..."
The hospital adds vaguely that it risked damaging its reputation by associating with the abortion doctors: "...UGHD has determined that your practice of performing these procedures is disruptive to the business and reputation of UGHD," the letter says.
While the hospital didn't return a call for comment explaining the decision, the doctors allege in their complaint: "At the end of March, UGHD became the target of anti-abortion protesters." They accuses the hospital of only revoking privileges as a way to cave to the protesters' demands.
It's not clear who those protesters would be. The main Catholic organization in Dallas that holds "pro-life" prayer vigils at abortion clinics, Respect Life Ministries, denies that it was involved in any way with the UGHD decision. They won't say whether they plan to start demonstrating at hospitals that extend privileges to abortion doctors in the future.
"We don't have any comment on hospitals that are offering admitting privileges to abortionists," Becky Visosky, spokesman for the ministry's Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, tells Unfair Park.
Dr. Robinson and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia's joint complaint against UGHD is below.