Admitting privilege legislation is the latest trick deployed nationally by opponents of abortion rights to shrink the (already inadequate) number of abortion providers. That’s why it’s been all over the news for months.
Recently, we learned the admitting privilege controversy is coming to Pennsylvania.
The bill will be co-sponsored by Rep. Kathy Rapp. You may recall Rapp, a member of the Susan B. Anthony National Pro-life Caucus, as a sponsor of Pennsylvania’s mandatory ultrasound bill–an idea ridiculed by professional medical associations. (Then former Governor Corbett advised women endure the medically unnecessary procedure by just closing their eyes, and the entire country wondered what was wrong with Pennsylvania.) The other sponsor is Rep. Bryan Barbin, the Democratic leader of the Pennsylvania House Pro-Life Caucus.
What are admitting privileges?
Admitting privileges refer to a specific type of contractual arrangement between hospitals and doctors. It is not required for a doctor to send patients to a hospital.
So why suddenly require an unnecessary new contract? What’s the trick here?
As usual, proponents of the bill claim they want to protect women.
In reality, admitting privileges have nothing do with medical safety and everything to do with creating an opportunity to force doctors who provide abortion care to stop working and abortion clinics to shut down.
Hospitals are not required to provide admitting privileges to qualified doctors because they aren’t necessary.
Because admitting privileges are unnecessary, many hospitals deny granting them to a doctor unless he or she sends them a certain number of patients per year. So ironically, one reason doctors who perform abortions are often not granted admitting privileges is because abortion is safe.
Hospital administrators can deny doctors admitting privileges if the doctor doesn’t live within a certain number of miles of the hospital.
But really, hospital administrators don’t need any reason at all to deny admitting privileges. Catholic hospitals, for example, are required to follow health care directives handed down by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops—they aren’t exactly handing out admitting privileges to doctors who provide abortion care and contraception. Meanwhile, the number of Catholic hospitals continues to grow.
All that suddenly and randomly requiring doctors and hospitals draw up an “admitting privileges” contract does is give administrators of hospitals that don’t provide abortion care the power to veto abortion from happening at any clinic or office within a 30-mile radius of their hospital.
It just doesn’t make sense.
While always unnecessary, the concept of admitting privileges is particularly absurd in Pennsylvania, one of the few states where facilities providing abortion care have, by law, already maintained transfer agreements with hospitals for decades.
Under the new law, if passed, a Pennsylvania doctor who performs an abortion who doesn’t have an admitting privileges contract with a hospital within 30 miles of his or her office can be convicted of a third degree misdemeanor for providing patient care.
Urge Representatives Rapp and Barbin to really support women’s health
Forcing abortion providers to close their doors by inventing new regulations doesn’t help the hard-working women of Pennsylvania.
It’s unfortunate that anti-choice Pennsylvania lawmakers are spending their time trying to shut down the 13 remaining providers of safe and legal abortion left in Pennsylvania instead of working to actually protect women’s health and economic security.
Since Representatives Rapp and Barbin say they’re interested in protecting women’s health, it’s hard to understand why they haven’t seen fit to cosponsor health-protecting measures that women actually want and need. We formally invite them to support the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health, a bipartisan landmark legislative package designed to enable women’s health and economic security.
The Agenda for Women’s Health offers Pennsylvania lawmakers plenty of opportunities to protect and promote women’s health and economic security, including eliminating discrimination against pregnant and nursing employees, ensuring doctors are not forced to lie to patients, and promoting equal pay protections for women.
“Admitting privileges” is an attempt to disempower doctors and trick the people of Pennsylvania. It is a bad bill. Don’t let it come to Pennsylvania.
Click here to tell your representatives that you trust doctors and medical experts, not politicians to determine best healthcare practices. Tell them if they really want to protect women’s health, they should support bills in the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health instead of playing tricks with doctor’s rights and women’s lives.