Requiring doctors providing safe abortion care in clinic settings to have hospital admitting privileges has become one of this year’s favorite anti-choice initiatives. After all, how can you argue against them without sounding like you are an opponent of safe medical care?
In North Dakota, however, Red River Women’s Clinic is in a catch 22. The reason that they may be denied privileges, and would then have to stop offering abortions, is due to the high quality of care that the providers offer.
There are only two hospitals that can offer Red River admitting privileges if the new TRAP bill becomes law and all abortion providers need to be able to admit to an emergency room. The largest and most logical choice to apply to would be Sanford Health. But the obstacle for privileges there is that the clinic is too safe. Sen. Carolyn Nelson noted during testimony against the bill that the hospital’s current protocol is to have a set number of patients per year admitted to the hospital for any doctor privileges. “I don’t see Sanford changing their protocols on how they allow people to get privileges. They require that a doctor have 10 visits a year and the clinic doesn’t need that many.”
If abortion was so dangerous that the bill was necessary to protect those who undergo it, Sanford Health would not have to consider breaking their own rules to admit a Red River doctor. The fact that the clinic has so few complications that a hospital wouldn’t find a partnership worthwhile should in itself show that the issue is not the safety of women, but the closure of the only abortion provider in North Dakota.
The big concern to all of those who really care about women’s health is how many people will end up in the emergency room should the only clinic in the state be shut down, and women are forced to take matters into their own hands.