Women in Wisconsin May Have to Wait 10 Weeks to Get an Abortion


Across the country, conservative legislators are gleefully endeavoring to enact laws that unnecessarily force abortion clinics to close, making it hugely difficult for women to have access to safe, legal abortions. And this week in Wisconsin, a federal judge is hearing arguments for and against Wisconsin’s own shitty law that would cause a huge strain on the state’s remaining providers.

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws are all the rage amongst the anti-choice set these days; they function by holding abortion clinics to ridiculously and needlessly high standards and then forcing them to shutter when they cannot meet those standards. All of the common-sense objections that one can raise — i.e., that first trimester abortions, which make up 90 percent of all abortions, require no cutting or stitching up and that they have a fatality rate of roughly four in a million — fall on deaf ears, because these laws aren’t really concerned with women’s health and safety. Their true intent, of course, is to shut down as many abortion clinics as possible without technically infringing on a woman’s constitutional right to choice.

In July of 2013, Wisconsin’s very own TRAP law — which requires all abortion providers to get admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles — was signed into law. In response, two of the state’s abortion providers sued, claiming the the restriction would put an undue burden on women seeking the procedure. This week, U.S. District Judge William Conley will hear arguments for and against the law and determine whether it should be struck down.

Similar TRAP laws were recently argued in Mississippi and Alabama, but, according to Talking Points Memo, the case in Wisconsin “shows the greatest possibility of the requirement being upheld.” If that’s the case, then Affiliated Medical Services, an abortion clinic in Milwaukee that’s been unable to obtain admitting privileges anywhere, will be forced to close:

Planned Parenthood, the only other Milwaukee clinic, has stated that they already have a two to three week wait for patients to get in for terminations, and that if AMS is closed that wait will likely extend to eight to 10 weeks in order to handle the additional 2,500 patients a year.
That would make almost every patient need to seek a second trimester procedure, which increases the price drastically, or go to the next closest available city “abortion friendly” city – Chicago. If that occurs, America will essentially be transported back to the days before abortion was legal in all states, with pregnant people traveling to the closest large city that will have multiple clinics to be able to handle the massive influx of patients. Locally, in abortion hostile states, the procedure will mostly disappear.

If lawmakers continue to perpetuate and abide by the belief that TRAP laws are constitutional, women will literally have to travel hundreds of miles to get safe and legal abortion procedures — something that’s simply not feasible for those who lack the financial means to pay for transportation, lodging, time off of work, etc. And, since limiting abortion availability has been proven to have absolutely no effect on its frequency, this will cause women to resort to unsafe, illegal alternatives. Once again, thanks so much for looking out for our safety, “pro-life” politicians!

Image via AP.

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