RMC Responds: The Truth about Hospital Admitting Privileges

rmc_responds1As mainstream Republicans who believe in the conservative values of limited government, personal responsibility and individual liberty, we oppose government overreach, especially when it is medically unnecessary. This week, one Facebook commenter asked us exactly why admitting privileges, the latest trend in anti-choice legislation, are inherently wrong:

“You never do a good job of explaining why admitting privileges to a hospital are inherently wrong. You have explained why these admitting privileges are hard to get, but what makes it inherently wrong? It would seem that if surgery (even the most minor surgery) is performed complications can develop. It makes sense that the doctor should be able to admit the patient when (or if) complications occur. You call that big government only because of your pro-abortion cause.”

Anti-choice extremists attempt to make people believe that if doctors do not obtain admitting privileges, women cannot get emergency care. This is completely and unequivocally false. The reality is that, in the case of an emergency, family planning clinics and other facilities where outpatient services are offered, under federal law, will always be able to seek treatment for their patients. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act has required hospitals to do so since 1986.

In truth, admitting privileges are only meant for physicians who admit and treat a certain number of patients in a hospital every year. Because less than 0.3% of the 1% of women who experience complications from an abortion require hospitalization, clinic doctors should never meet these minimum admissions rates. When these rare complications do arise, emergency technicians have the most up-to-date information from all nearby hospitals to decide which will treat the patient’s condition the best and fastest. When the safest choice cannot be made because a law attempts to limit emergency technicians based on a doctor’s admitting privileges, it puts the patient at risk.

Still, legislatures continue to target safe, legal outpatient family planning clinics over other outpatient facilities in a way that does nothing to increase patient safety. No other low risk, legal outpatient facility’s doctors are required to gain these admitting privileges that The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists officially opposes. This is an example of big government picking and choosing which safe, legal outpatient facilities should exist in the free market.

Being pro-choice is not pro-abortion and opposing big-government overreach is a cause all Republicans share. Requiring admitting privileges, however, is not only anti-choice, it is anti-patient safety. Instead of putting women at risk with medically unnecessary regulations, Real Republicans put prevention over politics and promote the conservative values of limited government and fiscal responsibility for the sake of women’s health.

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