Abortion clinic regulations unjustly obstruct healthcare access

Amy Schully, Staff Writer

The following is an opinion piece, and does not reflect the views of the Tulane Hullabaloo.

The Department of Health and Hospitals’ proposed Abortion Facilities Licensing Standards, which is a 23-page rewrite of regulations for abortion clinics in Louisiana, is a targeted attack on abortion providers. The DHH regulations are not intended to protect the health and safety of patients but rather to create even more obstacles to keep women from accessing safe, legal abortions.

Abortion clinics in the state are already highly regulated. The DHH reserves the right to inspect the five abortion clinics in Louisiana at any given time. As a result of these onerous new regulations, which are intended to be burdensome to clinic staff and patients, the DHH will likely shut down four of the five abortion clinics in the state of Louisiana.

The politicians who have written these regulations into law are by no means experts in the field, and the regulations themselves lack any medical basis. These lawmakers believe that abortion clinics must adhere to extra regulations that no other outpatient facility in the state is forced to implement. The proposed DHH regulations clearly state that abortion doctors must obtain admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in order for clinics to stay open. The regulations would penalize clinics for renovations, administrative procedures, and clerical errors. Further, despite the fact that the chance of complications resulting from an abortion in a clinic is less than .25 percent, the DHH is set on denying women their legal right to a safe abortion.  

While the DHH claims that it is protecting the life and safety of women who seek abortions, in practice, the enforcement of these regulations will actually force women to travel to other states to receive an abortion. For the many women who cannot afford the costs related to travel for an abortion, the regulations will result in an increase in unwanted pregnancies, involuntary motherhood and even botched abortions.

It is unacceptable for the DHH to completely ignore the safety of Louisiana women in need of legal abortions. If the DHH truly cares about women, it would recognize that clinics already enforce important laws regarding patient health, safety and confidentiality.

Choosing to have an abortion is not a decision that most women take lightly. Women not only face the challenge of raising the necessary funds for the operation, but costs related to travel, hotel stays — as a result of the mandatory 24 hour waiting period in Louisiana — and childcare services are obstacles that already limit women’s ability to receive a legal abortion. Louisiana women deserve equal access to a medical procedure that is effective, safe and entirely legal in the United States.

Amy Schully is a senior at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected] 

Leave a Comment