Houston abortion doctor’s license suspended for unlawful procedures

HOUSTON (KXAN) — A Houston doctor’s medical license was temporarily suspended after the Texas Medical Board said he unlawfully performed 268 abortions.

Dr. Theofore M. Herring Jr. continued to provide abortions after Nov. 6, 2013 despite not holding active admitting privileges at a hospital that provides obstetrical or gynecological health care services located within 30 miles from the location where the abortion was performed, according to the medical board.

Allowing Herring to practice would have been a “continuing threat to public welfare,” the board said.

This was the first suspension of a license since new abortion restrictions went into effect last fall, according to the board.

“The admitting privileges requirement in HB2 is medically unnecessary and does nothing to improve what is one of the safest outpatient procedures,” said Heather Busby with NARAL Pro-Choice Texas. “This requirement’s true purpose is to force abortion providers out of business and has already lead to the closure of nearly one-third of Texas’ safe, legal abortion clinics.”

During an unannounced visit to Herring’s facility on Dec. 11, 2013, the doctor told Department of State Health Services officials he did not have admitting privileges. In a plan of correction letter Jan. 27, Herring said he was “obtaining active admitting privileges” and held an “admitting arrangement with two other physicians,” and would complete the requests by Aug. 31, the DSHS said.

The DSHS determined Herring’s plan was insufficient and after a second unannounced visit last week, they said he still lacked the privileges and completed paperwork.

Health service officials then filed a complaint to the medical board Feb. 11 alleging Herring had violated the state’s health and safety code.

A hearing on the suspension could be held in 10 days.

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