Abortion Opponents Are Now Going After Hospitals That Don’t Even Perform Abortions

It had been decades since the days when hospitals used to be the sole provider of pregnancy termination services, and almost as long since most of them ceased offering any form of elective abortions at all. The main reason that hospitals stopped providing abortions, besides the lower cost options available at stand alone clinics, is their unhappiness with the protests and targeting that often went hand in hand with being a public abortion provider.

Some hospitals, however, are still the target of abortion protests, even though they don’t offer elective procedures at all. For many abortion opponents, doing anything that could be seen as allowing abortion clinics to continue to operate is as bad as offering the service itself.

Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville, Ala., is about to be at the center of such a protest. Led by Rev. James Henderson of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, the hospital is being accused of “supporting the abortion industry” by having doctors on staff who also do terminations at a local clinic. Rev. Henderson announced that there will be protests at the hospital on October 21, and that State Sen. Shadrack McGill (R-Macedonia) supports their actions.

McGill, a Tea Party Republican and “personhood” supporter, once bemoaned that people are fined for destroying eagle eggs but not for ending pregnancies.

Crestwood vehemently denies that they are “supporting” abortion. “As we have said previously, when confronted with similar misstatements, we would like to reaffirm that abortions are not performed at Crestwood Medical Center,” the hospital said in a statement to AL.com. “Further, there is no formal nor informal connection between the Alabama Women’s Center for Reproductive Alternatives and Crestwood Medical Center. The hospital does not control what independent physicians, licensed by the state of Alabama, do or do not do in their private practice. We are deeply concerned with the gross mischaracterization of the services that are rendered at Crestwood Medical Center.”

Hospital protests were once popular with those who opposed abortions, but had mostly disappeared once abortions were no longer performed at the facilities. As more states have introduced legislation forcing clinics or doctors to have admitting privileges with a local hospital, however, we can expect an uptick in these sorts of actions. Just as hospitals largely backed out of elective abortions due to public pressure, anti-choice activists hope to see the same sort of pressure work when it comes to forcing them to cut off all ties with anyone who provides terminations.

Transfer agreements bring in very little, if anything, financially for a hospital that participates, making them the perfect pressure point for abortion opponents to hit in order to cut off access. A hospital that receives no financial benefit from an agreement and can lose business over protests will be far less willing to enter into or continue an agreement. A private hospital has no reason to keep an agreement in the face of pressure from outside groups, and a religious entity would never have entered into such an agreement in the first place. That would only leave public hospitals as options when it comes to seeking out a state mandated transfer agreement and, as we saw in Ohio, laws can be written to exclude those hospitals as well.

That Rev. Henderson and his supporters announced a plan to protest the hospital, rather than simply protesting it, is the sign that a trial balloon is being released when it comes to taking the abortion battle to the doors of hospitals. If the hospital caves, more such actions will be planned across the country, and immediately. However, if Crestwood continues to release statements accusing the group of “mischaracterizing” them by saying they support abortion, anti-choice activists still win, and the divide between abortion services and the rest of the medical profession will continue to grow, stigmatizing the procedure and the people who perform it or undergo it even further than before.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S8 months ago


Jim V
Jim Ven8 months ago

thanks for sharing.

alan l.
a l4 years ago

The reich wing nut bars want to protect their freedoms...(at the expense of the freedoms of those who threaten their narrow minded world view based on superstition and ignorance.) A fetus is part of a woman's body until which time it is capable of breathing on its own. And who has the right to control what happens to your body? They want to maintain the right to kill with their legally sanctioned guns, but deny the right of women to control and protect their own physical integrity! Disgusting hypocrites...


John H.
John H.4 years ago

Lindsey O. wrote: “Angela R, the day when we develop 100% foolproof birth control methods and we no longer have women being raped (and sometimes getting pregnant from the rape) then it will be reasonable to "blame" those who have sex but don't want children to result….”

Lindsey, you almost got everything correct in your response to Angela R. and perhaps it is only a technicality but for many of the religious right the “ONLY” acceptable reason for having sex is the procreation of rug-rats! And they wonder why attendance at church is falling.

Freya Harris
Freya Harris4 years ago

More proof that anti-choice activists are blind, fog-headed fanatics who redouble their efforts time and again when they have totally lost sight of their goal. They knee-jerk attack anything that even smacks of abortion. All they do is drive abortion underground, where it is unregulated - remember Dr. Gosnell and his abattoir?

Nils Anders Lunde
PlsNoMessage se4 years ago


Susanne R.
Susanne R4 years ago

I found it interesting to read that "McGill, a Tea Party Republican and 'personhood' supporter, once bemoaned that people are fined for destroying eagle eggs but not for ending pregnancies."

The poor, misguided tea-party hypocrite! Eagles and other threatened species of birds are suffering from lead poisoning because they eat small animals that have ingested lead pellets from shotguns or bullet fragments. I bet he's not organizing a protest against the NRA!

These controlling bullies should not be making decisions for women when they don't know the woman's situation or the events that led to her pregnancy. I think they should concentrate their efforts on lobbying for stricter gun laws so they can save people who are senselessly killed by individuals who should NOT have access to guns.

Lynn Squance
Lynn S4 years ago

A woman`s body, a woman`s choice.

No smarmy assed pseudo Christian has the right to tell any woman, or her doctor what to do when under the law it is legal. These right wing fanatical evangelical pseudo Christians are indeed the American Taliban. IMO, they are terrorists and should be treated as such.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson4 years ago


Cathleen K.
Cathleen K4 years ago

I can't wait for some of these stupid states to start prosecuting doctors for performing D&Cs on bleeding women. The insurance companies will jack the malpractice rates sky high. Between that and the fear of being prosecuted for doing your damned job responsibly, OBGYNs will leave the stupid states in droves, and the ones who stay will let women bleed to death because it's God's will. Eventually, some heavily armed good ole boy will figure out why his wife is dead and shoot a bunch of these protesting assholes, at which point the entire movement will scurry away from public protests. Meanwhile, a whole generation of Evangelicals will be smaller because their would be mothers will die without competent medical care and their complicated pregnancies will end in failure. Now that's a major win - for the state, the country and the human gene pool.