The state of Texas has shut down a Houston abortion provider for non-compliance with a new law requiring doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles.
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.
“It is a sad and dark day for women in Texas; we have regressed backwards about 30 years,” Amy Hagstrom Miller, the president of Whole Women’s Health, told the website ThinkProgress in an emailed statement. Per the site, three of the five clinics Miller operates will now be forced to close. Whole Women’s Health is reportedly one of the plaintiffs in a legal action pending over the new law.
Pro-life advocates, meanwhile, applaud the move.
Texas Right to Life is proud that the Texas Medical Board has upheld the rule of law by taking this disciplinary action against Dr. Herring. We encourage the Texas Medical Board and the Department of State Health Services to continue fully enforcing the Life-saving safety policies passed in House Bill 2.
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.
This post was used with the permission of Watchdog Wire.