Anti-Choice Florida Lawmakers Introduce Admitting Privileges Bill

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Anti-Choice Florida Lawmakers Introduce Admitting Privileges Bill

Nina Liss-Schultz

Florida lawmakers last week introduced a bill that would require abortion clinics have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

Florida lawmakers last week introduced a bill, HB 147, that would require abortion clinics have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic.

Similar requirements in Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Alabama, and Mississippi have threatened to shut down the majority of abortion clinics in those states, despite mainstream medical groups saying the laws are medically unnecessary. The admitting privileges provisions of HB 2, the Texas omnibus anti-choice law enacted in 2013, is at the center of the ongoing legal battle between abortion access advocates and the state.

And in Ohio, a law that requires all abortion clinics have a written transfer agreement with a local private hospital has led to the closure of a handful of clinics as Catholic hospitals refuse to enter into transfer agreements with abortion providers.

In both states, the number of abortion clinics has been cut by at least half.

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Proponents of admitting privileges laws charge that the legislation is based on safety, arguing that abortion providers should have an explicit contract with a hospital just in case something goes awry during the procedure.

This anti-choice argument is based on no medical evidence: According to medical professionals, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. Admitting privileges laws, the rules of which are not applied to other kinds of outpatient surgical centers, are instead a political tool to decrease abortion access, abortion proponents charge.