Women in the South Are Rapidly Losing Abortion Access


On Wednesday, the Louisiana House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a bill that would impose strict and unnecessary regulations on abortion providers. If Gov. Bobby Jindal signs it into law — and he’s indicated that he will — at least three of the state’s five clinics will be forced to close.

Between this bill and similar laws passed (or being considered) in Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Alabama, it’s a distinct possiblity that only twelve abortion clinics will be able to stay open across all four states. Those twelve providers would have to serve a population of around 8.6 million women over reproductive age.

The Louisiana legislation, which is partially modeled on Texas’ incredibly harmful HB2 bill, would require all abortion providers to obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within a 30 mile radius. While such laws — known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws — often purport to have women’s best interests in mind, their real aim is to over-regulate clinics out of existence. According to the Guttmacher Institute, requiring admitting privileges does “little, if anything” to “add to long-standing patient safeguards.” It does, however, “[grant] hospitals effective veto power over whether an abortion provider can exist,” which is especially dangerous in conservative areas.

This is something that some proponents of the TRAP bills are upfront about: “These incremental laws are part of a greater strategy to end abortion in our country,” Tanya Britton, a board member of Pro-Life Mississippi, recently told the New York Times. “It’s part of it, and one day, our country will be abortion free.”

The Times-Picayune reports that the bill would impose a 24-hour waiting period on women seeking medical and surgical abortions alike. As of now only one of the five Louisiana clinics has admitting privileges: “While it’s been widely reported that the new measures could shutter three clinics in Baton Rouge, Metairie and New Orleans, the clinic in Bossier City must still work to comply.” This means that women in need of abortions would have to make two separate trips to the one or two remaining provider(s), which would be inconvenient for women with the means to do so and hugely difficult for those without.

Horrifyingly, this most recent set of restrictions serves as a continuation of a similar malignant agenda advanced in neighboring states: in the past year, restrictions have been passed literally all around Louisiana. Furthermore, as the New York Times notes, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama have all implemented TRAP laws, and Oklahoma is poised to. According to Planned Parenthood, it’s possible that these combined efforts could result in all but TWELVE clinics closing across all four states, leaving the 8.6 million women who might need reproductive care in that area completely fucked. How is this not seen as an undue burden on women who need abortion access? How?

Restricting abortion access doesn’t decrease the frequency of abortion. It just makes it far more likely that women will get them in illegal, unregulated, unsafe conditions. Anyone who supports laws that force clinics to shutter and simultaneously calls himself pro-life is a massive hypocrite.

Image via Planned Parenthood .

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