AAPS filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in one of the biggest cases of the year, June Medical Services v. Gee, No. 18-1323, which challenges a Louisiana law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
AAPS notes that this requirement is identical to the rule that governs physicians who perform other out-patient procedures in an ambulatory surgery setting. The complication rate for procedures done at ASCs is 0.1%, which is lower than the (likely understated) complication rate of up to 0.5% for abortion. Hundreds if not thousands of women are hospitalized each year for abortion complications, and few states mandate reporting them.
Because of anticipated use of anxiolytics, analgesia, or anesthesia, abortion clinics do not qualify for the exemption allowed for some office-based procedures, AAPS argues.
“[A]dmitting privileges help physicians fulfill their ethical duties to ensure the continuity of care for patients transferred to a hospital,” AAPS writes. Patients have the right to “expect that their physician will cooperate in coordinating medically indicated care with other health care professionals, and that the physician will not discontinue treating them when further treatment is medically indicated without giving them sufficient notice and reasonable assistance in making alternative arrangements for care.” As an expert witness has explained, “a doctor does not fulfill this ethical duty by sending a patient to the hospital ‘abandoned by the original provider, leaving the hospital staff to figure out…what’s going on…without the benefit of all of the information’ the doctor knows.” Thus, privileging is required for other ASC procedures.
The full brief is posted at: