Check Your Privilege -- Dispelling Misconceptions About Abortion Care and Hospital Admitting Privileges

Rebecca E. Cooney, PhD


March 22, 2016

Editorial Collaboration

Medscape &

How Important Is the Issue of Admitting Privileges to the Supreme Court Case?

The plaintiff in the case, Whole Woman's Health, a private gynecology and abortion care clinic, suggests that admitting privileges, alongside the stipulation for clinics to conform to ambulatory surgical center standards, creates an unfair and substantial burden for providers and women.

Although there is generally consensus that applying surgical clinic standards such as doorway and room size minimums to abortion clinics is of limited use in improving patient safety, there may yet be some debate. But the issue of admissions privileges in the current case appears to be invoked out of a basic misunderstanding of how hospital medicine is conducted.

Ultimately, the Court will decide whether these requirements contribute to an undue burden with "the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion." A decision is expected in late June 2016.


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