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Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Houston abortion clinic shut down by state

Posted by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:16 AM
  • 177 Replies


Texas officials have shut down a Houston abortion clinic and its doctor under a new state law requiring physicians who perform the procedure to hold admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

The Department of State Health Services has revoked the abortion license of A Affordable Women's Medical Center and the Texas Medical Board has temporarily suspended the medical license of Dr. Theodore M. Herring Jr., the facility's medical director and sole provider of abortions, the agencies announced Friday.

Herring unlawfully performed 268 abortions between Nov. 6 and Feb. 7, according to the two agencies.

The disciplinary actions against the north Houston clinic and doctor were the first taken by state authorities since the law went into effect Nov. 1. The law requires abortion clinic doctors to have privileges at a hospital that provides obstetrical or gynecological services and is within 30 miles of the facility where they provide the procedure.

The state health department Friday indefinitely revoked the facility's license. A medical board disciplinary panel Thursday temporarily suspended Herring's license. Both actions took effect immediately.

There will be follow-up hearings regarding both disciplinary actions later this month.

Neither Herring nor anyone else at A Affordable Women's Medical Center could be reached for comment Friday. Calls by the Houston Chronicle were not returned, and the clinic at 7007 North Freeway was closed.

Herring's suspension followed an unannounced Dec. 11 health department inspection of the Houston clinic. Herring "admitted he was the medical director and the sole provider of abortion procedures," the medical board news release said. "Dr. Herring also admitted that he did not have admitting privileges within 30 miles of the facility."

The health department found Herring still did not have admitting privileges and had not stopped providing abortions during a second surprise inspection of the facility Feb. 7.

Between Jan. 1 and Feb. 7, according to the department's license revocation order, Herring performed 99 abortions.

Opposing viewpoints

Partisans in the abortion debate reacted predictably to the news.

"This is part of a statewide effort, through medically unnecessary provisions, to drive providers out of business," said Fatimah Gifford, spokeswoman for Whole Women's Health, one of the plaintiffs in a not yet resolved legal challenge to the law. "Between clinics forced to shut down and actions like this, the law is having a huge effect on access to abortion."

But Joe Pojman, executive director of Texas Alliance for Life, praised the state agencies for "enforcing the law as the legislature intended."

"This will protect the health and safety of women seeking abortions in Texas, and we hope that this will send a message to other abortion providers that none of them are above the law," Pojman said.

Pojman said he believes there are other Texas abortion providers still not in compliance with the law. He noted that Douglas Karpen, the Houston doctor accused last year of performing late-term abortions by an anti-abortion group but cleared of wrongdoing by a Harris County grand jury, lists no admitting privileges on the medical board's website.

Herring has been a licensed doctor for almost 40 years. In 1995, a Houston man was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison for using force in an attempt to intimidate Herring. The man threw a glass bottle at a vehicle being driven by Herring, then a doctor at America's Women Clinic.

This year, Herring had submitted a "plan of correction" indicating he held an "admitting arrangement" with two other doctors and was obtaining admitting privileges. He said he anticipated a "complete date" of Aug. 31, 2014.

State officials told Herring the plan was insufficient.

Gifford said Herring's experience is more evidence "why the time frame for doctors to get privileges is so inadequate and devastating."

The admitting-privilege requirement is just one component of the law, which was the subject of rancorous debate last year. It also tightened regulations on the use of abortion-inducing drugs and banned abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.

No ruling yet

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the admitting privileges provision last month, but hasn't yet issued a ruling. In October, the court lifted a U.S. district judge's injunction barring Texas from enforcing that requirement.

source

by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:16 AM
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Replies (1-10):
jobseeker
by Bronze Member on Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:21 AM
2 moms liked this

Just to put things into perspesctive, there are 5 other clinics withing 5 miles of this once

candlegal
by Judy on Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:27 AM
2 moms liked this

Every abortion he does not do is another life saved.

Quoting jobseeker:

Just to put things into perspesctive, there are 5 other clinics withing 5 miles of this once


lga1965
by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 7:38 AM
2 moms liked this

 Texas. RME.

Abortion is legal. Roe vs Wade.....does Texas know? LOL

LauraKW
by "Dude!" on Feb. 17, 2014 at 8:42 AM
Could you provide a source, please? Thank you.

Quoting jobseeker:

Just to put things into perspesctive, there are 5 other clinics withing 5 miles of this once

-Celestial-
by Pepperlynn on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:12 AM
1 mom liked this
Wendy Davis will reverse it when she becomes governor. .
Rhodin
by Bronze Member on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:13 AM
6 moms liked this

Or just another life he didn't take.  Even if the next clinic is in Mexico, women who are bound and determined to abort will abort.

Quoting candlegal:

Every abortion he does not do is another life saved.

Quoting jobseeker:

Just to put things into perspesctive, there are 5 other clinics withing 5 miles of this once



jaxTheMomm
by Platinum Member on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:16 AM
6 moms liked this

I did not know that politicians were so medically qualified!

candlegal
by Judy on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this

bouncing

Quoting -Celestial-: Wendy Davis will reverse it when she becomes governor. .


tanyainmizzou
by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:18 AM
1 mom liked this


Quoting -Celestial-: Wendy Davis will reverse it when she becomes governor. .

Oh 20-28 years from now?

supermonstermom
by on Feb. 17, 2014 at 9:20 AM
3 moms liked this

The Texas law is you must have  hospital privileges to preform an abortion?  I wonder if just one of the doctors in the practice can have privileges?  Maybe he should think about getting a partner who does  or pay the hospital for privileges.  

If there was a complication, the doctor can't send the woman to the hospital for treatment?

I had a cosmetic procedure, and I am pretty sure my doctor does not have hospital privileges.  Everything is done is her office.  Whats the difference?

I am not sure I get the purpose of the law, except to harass doctors who preform the procedure, and the women who choose to have it done.

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