By Chuck Lindell, Austin American-Statesman
AUSTIN, Texas — A state judge Thursday ordered a Dallas hospital to temporarily reinstate admitting privileges that had recently been revoked for two abortion doctors.
University General Hospital Dallas sent identical letters to the doctors last month saying their admitting privileges had been revoked because their abortion practices were “disruptive to the business and reputation” of the hospital.
The doctors filed suit Thursday, arguing that the revocation violated a state law that bars hospitals from discriminating against doctors based on whether they perform or refuse to perform abortions. Several hours later, Associate District Judge Sheryl Day McFarlin agreed, granting a temporary restraining order requiring the hospital to reinstate the privileges.
A trial, set for April 30, will determine if the order should continue for the hospital, a publicly owned acute-care facility in southwest Dallas.
The lawsuit, which did not seek money, claimed abortion opponents demanded that the hospital revoke the privileges for Dr. Lamar Robinson, with Abortion Advantage, and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia, with the Routh Street Women’s Clinic, or face an April 1 protest.
On March 31, the hospital’s new chief executive officer, Chuck Schuetz, revoked the privileges and “assured protesters that UGHD would be ‘pro-life’ and would not associate with those who provide abortions,” the lawsuit said.
Under the state’s stricter abortion law that went into effect last year, doctors cannot perform abortions unless they have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.
Both doctors have had to cancel “dozens of appointments each day” since receiving the letters, the lawsuit said. While Routh Street Women’s Clinic has been able to continue with temporary help from a part-time doctor, Abortion Advantage had stopped offering the procedure, the suit said.
AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan