The New Normal

[Content Note: War on agency; reproductive rights; anti-choice harassment.]

Not only are women who get abortions and help their daughters get abortions being arrested, but an abortion provider in Texas is the first casualty of the state's omnibus anti-abortion law.
Last week, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) temporarily suspended the license of a Houston abortion provider who failed to comply with a provision of the state's new omnibus anti-abortion bill that requires doctors who provide abortions to obtain admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles.

Dr. Theodore Herring has been practicing legal abortion in the state since 1974, but on November 1, 2013, the safe abortions Herring has provided for 40 years became illegal—in the TMB's terms, Herring's practice became a "threat to public welfare"—when the state began enforcing the admitting privileges provision of HB 2 following a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that put the law into place and shuttered one-third of Texas abortion providers.

According to a statement released by TMB, Herring "unlawfully performed 268 abortion procedures" between November 6, 2013, and February 7, 2014, without holding admitting privileges at a hospital that provides OB-GYN health-care services. Herring has a hospital "admitting arrangement" with two other physicians, but no admitting privileges himself.
This, too, is what it looks like when a nation allows a federal right to be chipped away in state legislatures, leaving women et. al. with the ostensible right to abortion but no meaningful access and legal vulnerability via a patchwork of arbitrary laws.

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