Doctors settle with hospital over abortion concern

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Associated Press

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 6:32 AM

DALLAS (AP) — Two doctors whose clinics perform abortions have had their admitting privileges at a Dallas hospital reinstated as part of a settlement in their lawsuit.

Dr. Lamar Robinson and Dr. Jasbir Ahluwalia argued in their suit filed earlier this year that University General Hospital revoked their privileges because they perform abortions. They said University General violated a state law that forbids hospitals from penalizing doctors for either performing abortions or declining the procedure.

University General revoked the doctors' privileges because the hospital didn't provide the service and considered the procedure "disruptive" to its business and reputation, according to The Dallas Morning News (http://bit.ly/SvoBN8 ).

Terms of the settlement, reached Monday, were not disclosed but the hospital says the doctors received no money. The doctors' New York-based attorney, Shannon Rose Selden, said she was "delighted" with the agreement.

"This is a great result for our clients and their patients and for reproductive rights," she told the Morning News.

A controversial law adopted last year requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they perform the procedure. The requirement drew heavy debate from special-interest groups. Anti-abortion advocates argued it helps increase patient safety, and critics said it's an effort to over-regulate abortion out of existence in Texas.

Robinson and Ahluwalia obtained admitting privileges at University General after the law went into effect. They perform abortions at the clinic each man operates and not at the hospital, according to their lawsuit.

A Dallas County judge had temporarily reinstated their admitting privileges but that order was scheduled to expire Tuesday.

The president of University General Health System, Donald Sapaugh, denied any effort was made to penalize the doctors.

"We don't believe we discriminated then," he told the Morning News. "We don't discriminate against any physician."

The admitting-privilege provision has created problems for abortion clinics. About a third of the 37 clinics in the state that were open before the law took effect have since closed.

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Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

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