ADF to US Supreme Court: Abortionists shouldn’t get free pass to risk women’s health, safety

Law requires hospital admitting privileges for abortionists, requires facilities to meet same safety standards as other surgical centers
Thursday, February 04, 2016

Attorney sound bites:  Steven H. Aden | Kevin Theriot

WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom filed a friend-of-the-court brief Wednesday with the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of five groups representing thousands of physicians and other medical professionals who support the Texas women’s safety law known as House Bill 2. The high court agreed in November of last year to weigh in on the measure.

Specifically, the brief addresses two provisions of the law that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit upheld: one that requires abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and one that requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event a woman must seek hospital care due to post-abortion complications.

“Abortionists should not be given a free pass to elude medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow,” said ADF Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden. “The 5th Circuit was on firm legal ground in its decision, and we anticipate that the Supreme Court will affirm it. The law’s requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women.”

ADF filed its brief in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt on behalf of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Pediatricians, the Christian Medical & Dental Association, the Catholic Medical Association, and Physicians for Life.

The brief urges the Supreme Court to uphold the 5th Circuit’s ruling and “affirm that the quality of medical care provided to women seeking abortion should not be any lower than the quality of care provided to women undergoing similar invasive procedures. The health and safety of all women should not be compromised.”

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade recognized an “important interest” in protecting a pregnant woman’s health and a “legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other procedure, is performed under circumstances that ensure maximum safety for the patient.” In its 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court additionally wrote that “the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman.”

“Texans should have full freedom to make women’s health and safety a priority over the bottom line of abortionists,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “In passing HB 2, Texas relied upon long-standing Supreme Court precedent that recognizes the states’ constitutional authority to regulate abortion and their strong interests in doing so, especially with regard to the health and safety of women. For that reason, we and the other expert groups who are making this point – in combined briefs, as the Supreme Court prefers – are encouraging the justices to uphold this good law.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

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