Supreme Court just made abortions even more dangerous for women

The recent decision of the Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 ruling, negating the requirement that abortionists have privileges at a local hospital, is a travesty in women's health care in America.

I state up front that I am pro-life,  am a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist, and have written about my pro-life stance on American Thinker in the past.  I have given 41 years of my professional life to ensuring the health and safety of my patients, mother and fetus.

In my practice, I have had to prove adequate training, supervision, and competence.  Also, all surgeries are peer-reviewed and any complications discussed in detail.  The medical record is required to be thorough and honest.  Those surgeons with more complications than expected are liable for corrective action, even losing that privilege.  This is to ensure an excellent standard of care.  These standards apply to hospitals and surgical centers.  The surgicenters require their practitioners to have privileges at the local hospital.  That is because, even in the best of hands, complications do happen.  And that surgeon who did the procedure knows the patient best and can attend to the complication at the hospital, where more services are available in the emergency setting.

In states that do not require abortionists to have local hospital privileges, these safeguards are egregiously missing.  The so-called pro-choice crowd likes to tout how safe abortions are.  But how do we know?  The CDC is one agency that is supposed to tabulate abortion complications, but many states do not require these to be reported.  Abortion facilities do not want this information widely known.  And their medical records are abysmal compared to hospital records.  I have never been to an abortion facility, and it is possible that many of them follow strict quality standards,  but I doubt they have real peer review. 

I have seen the result of these shoddy practices.  Because a facility did not look at the aborted "material" — what was assumed to be the aborted baby — well enough, I have had people show up in our emergency room with a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.  The patient was told not to call the abortionist — just go to the local E.R.  Sometimes, women show up with an infected uterus from a botched abortion and do not tell us what they had done.  This places a burden on the treating physician and can lead to a delay in proper management of an acute complication.  Again, the abortionist is not held accountable because the patients are told not to come back.  Abortionists are not held accountable for serious complications, such as perforated uterus, injury to bowel or bladder, hemorrhage, severe infection, and incompletely performed procedure.  The responsibility and liability falls on the responding attending physician, who is at an information disadvantage.

I fail to understand why two standards of care are allowed in this way.  An abortion facility is an ambulatory surgicenter without the strict surveillance and quality required of any other surgical center.  The pro-abortion crowd claims to be promoting women's health, but its position on this issue is diametrically opposed to the best standards of women's health.  These people have argued that requiring their abortionists to have privileges at a local hospital restricts many women from getting an abortion.  That may be true in some cases.  But it also keeps them from being involved in surgeries that do not meet the standard of care of every other surgical center.  If abortion facilities cannot meet these basic and simple requirements, they should be closed.

Roger Taylor is a physician in private practice.  He received his medical degree from the University of Chicago.

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