Two gynecologists alleged in court this week that University General Hospital in South Dallas illegally revoked their admitting privileges at the behest of pro-life protestors.
The move meant the two were unable to perform abortions because of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a provision in HB2 that required doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. On Thursday, State District Judge Sheryl McFarlin issued a restraining order temporarily reinstating their privileges at the hospital.
After the bill’s passage, protestors took aim at the hospital and urged it to revoke the admitting privileges of Drs. Lamar Robinson and Jasbir Ahluwalia. If it didn’t, the complaint says the protestors threatened to picket the hospital on April 1.
“UGHD apparently caved to the protestors’ demands,” reads the seven-page complaint. “UGHD’s new Chief Executive Officer, Chuck Schuetz, revoked Plaintiffs’ privileges and, on information and belief, assured the protestors that UGHD would be “pro-life” and would not associate with those who provide abortions.”
Robinson worked at Abortion Advantage in the Medical District while Ahluwalia is the medical director of the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Uptown. According to the complaint, UGHD granted admitting privileges for Robinson on Dec. 10 of last year and for Ahluwalia on Jan. 30. They have not performed abortions at the hospital.
The complaint says the revocation has been “devastating” to their relationships with patients and their standing in the medical community.
“While hospital admitting privileges are not medically necessary to the safe and effective provision of an abortion … they are now required by Texas state law,” the complaint says. “Unless and until HB2 is struck down as unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, Plaintiffs cannot provide abortion services in Texas without admitting privileges.”
As a result, the doctors allege that the decision has crippled the core of their practices. Ahluwalia is the only full-time physician employed at the Routh Street Women’s Clinic. He says his application for admitting privileges indicated that he performed abortions and that he was interviewed prior to getting the OK.
“Not only does Texas law expressly prohibit hospitals from discriminating against doctors who perform abortions, it also confers a private right of action on victims of this unlawful discrimination,” the complaint reads.
A hearing is set for April 30 to determine a long-term decision regarding their admitting privileges. The hospital has not commented about the injunction.