Today the Center for Reproductive Rights began their defense of Dr. and Mrs. Burns’ Abortion Surgery Center. They have challenged a law, passed by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2014, that would require all abortion providers to have patient admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. Burns, one of only two abortion providers in the state, has been unable to obtain privileges at any of the 16 qualifying hospitals within 30 miles of his office, with many hospitals even refusing to process his application, according to the complaint.
Dr. Burns, a practicing abortion provider for over 40 years, has not had a need to admit a single patient to a hospital throughout the entirety of his career. To be clear, in the event that a woman requires hospitalization after an abortion (an event that happens at just about the same rate that people are hospitalized for dental care) she would not be denied care based on the abortion clinic’s admitting privilege status. In fact, the rarity of patient admissions is part of the reason Dr. Burns struggles to obtain the privilege, as hospitals frequently require a ‘patient minimum’ to award admitting privileges.