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Physician Suspended and Facility License Revoked: HB 2 Continues to Erode Women's Rights in Texas

by: Genevieve Cato

Tue Feb 18, 2014 at 00:00 PM CST

This month, the first physician was suspended for failure to acquire the admitting privileges required to perform abortions under House Bill 2. The Texas Medical Board suspended Dr. Theodore Herring's medical license for providing 268 abortions between November 6th and February 7th - after the admitting privileges provision was implemented in the state.

The facility where Herring practiced was also punished. The clinic's abortion facility license was suspended, according to the Austin American Statesman. Dr. Herring was the only physician providing abortions at the clinic.

This looks to be the first of many suspensions under House Bill 2 and could become much more common as the law is implemented by TMB. Texas Right to Life called for continued enforcement of the law, stating "Dr. Herring is not the only abortionist practicing illegally in Texas."  

More on this first suspension under HB 2 below the jump.

At the heart of the suspension is the belief written into law through House Bill 2: that any physician or clinic failing to meet the requirements of the restrictive bill is putting public welfare at risk and endangering women. This was the refrain from supporters of the bill, including Texas Right to Life, when they weren't trying to base the bill on protection of the unborn.

Now that the bill the law, the Texas Medical Board must follow through with all of the provisions, even those currently being challenged in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The provisions in question include the one governing admitting privileges, which led directly to Dr. Herring losing his license.

Almost 300 Texans sought out Herring's services at the clinic in north Houston between November and February. There have been no news stories about horrific incidents resulting from Herring's practice or that of the clinic, and those women clearly needed access to abortion services from that facility. Dr. Herring was the only physician performing abortions at the clinic. If he had refused to provide abortions until he got his admitting privileges in order, would that have made these women more safe?

The chance of complications or injury associated with an abortion increase with time. Asking those women who sought abortions at his clinic had to wait to receive services until Herring acquired admitting privileges could be seen as a greater risk to public welfare.

However, none of these arguments matter. Now that HB 2 is the law of the land, supporters of reproductive justice have nothing to do but wait for the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to make their decision on these provisions as their damage continues to be felt across the state.  

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He broke the law. As a professional, you're held to strict moral standards to obey the laws governing your profession. He broke it, the clinic allowed him to, and now they won't be performing any procedures at all anytime soon.

If I get a DUI and lose my job will you write an article rallying for how drunk driving laws are damaging lives across the state?

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