For the first time since its passage of draconian curbs on the state's abortion clinics, Texas stripped the medical license of a physician for failing to obtain hospital admitting privileges. With a third of the state's clinics already shuttered due to the TRAP law which went into effect on November 1, 2013, access to abortion services is rapidly becoming a thing of the past in the Lone Star State.
As the Houston Chronicle reported, "The Department of State Health Services has revoked the abortion license of A Affordable Women's Medical Center and the Texas Medical Board has temporarily suspended the medical license of Dr. Theodore M. Herring Jr., the facility's medical director and sole provider of abortions." And why did the state take action against Herring, a licensed physician who has been practicing for 40 years?
Herring unlawfully performed 268 abortions between Nov. 6 and Feb. 7, according to the two agencies.Please read below the fold for more on this story.
The disciplinary actions against the north Houston clinic and doctor were the first taken by state authorities since the law went into effect Nov. 1. The law requires abortion clinic doctors to have privileges at a hospital that provides obstetrical or gynecological services and is within 30 miles of the facility where they provide the procedure.
Herring, who was assaulted by an anti-abortion assailant in 1995, tried to comply with the new law. But as the Chronicle explained, Texas authorities declared his efforts not good enough:
This year, Herring had submitted a "plan of correction" indicating he held an "admitting arrangement" with two other doctors and was obtaining admitting privileges. He said he anticipated a "complete date" of Aug. 31, 2014.The medically unnecessary regulations on facility structural standards and physician admitting privileges are having precisely the effect its authors intended. As the AP previously noted after the Supreme Court refused to overturn an Appeals Court decision upholding the Texas law:
State officials told Herring the plan was insufficient.
No more than 20 clinics were able to meet the new standard, and some women must travel hundreds of miles to obtain an abortion. All of the facilities that remain open are in metropolitan areas, with none in the Rio Grande Valley along the border with Mexico.As Feministing explained with these shocking maps, by the time the Texas' TRAP law is fully in effect in September 2014, it is estimated that only 6 clinics providing abortion services will remain open in a state encompassing 268,000 square miles. Meanwhile, so-called "crisis pregnancy centers" which exist to deceive or terrify women about abortion now number at least 108.