The purpose of targeted regulations of abortions providers (TRAP) laws is simply to drive providers out of existence. The 2011 legislative session saw a boom in TRAP laws and they are having the desired effect.
In Mississippi, for example, a controversial law passed last year required hospital admitting privileges for anyone who would provide abortions. It was designed to shut down the only public abortion provider in the state. And, as Robin Marty reports, while it hasn’t shut down the clinic yet, it’s getting close.
Mississippi’s only abortion clinic has hired two extra staff members to handle paperwork related to a new law (HB 1390) that requires doctors who provide abortion care to be board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and have admitting privileges at a local hospital, Politico Pro reports. However, every hospital that has responded to the clinic’s applications for its doctors to obtain admitting privileges has denied the requests so far: “Each application was at least 50 pages long,” Politico Pro reported, adding that the two new staffers worked on the issues “for months” (Politico Pro, 8/31).
It’s not just that they add expense, it is that they provide openings for anti-choice activists to harass providers, which of course, also adds expense. That’s the case in Indiana where an anti-abortion group claimed Monday that a Lafayette clinic that offers RU-486, is violating Indiana law by performing abortions without a license.
A spokesman for the Indiana State Department of Health would not comment on the clinic’s licensing status or whether abortions with RU-486 are treated the same as surgical abortions under state law. The drug was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2000. “The ISDH will have to investigate the specific facts before determining if this practice violates any laws of Indiana for which ISDH is responsible for enforcing,” spokesman Ken Severson said in an email.
Planned Parenthood of Indiana President Betty Cockrum said in a statement that all of the organization’s clinics comply with state law. “While we’re not shocked that these extremists would stoop to these tactics, we are disappointed that they would flat-out lie,” Cockrum said. “The fact is that our health center in Lafayette, like our other 27 health centers across the state, provides its services in accordance with Indiana law, without fail.”
The problem with TRAP laws is not just that they add expense and hurdles for providers, often in states already extremely hostile to abortion rights. It’s that they target women the most in crisis and the most in need which, of course, is so very pro-life.
Photo from tallentshow via flickr.