Another Friday means another go at the HB 2 abortion restriction law being put into effect in Texas. The latest trial, focusing on the part of the bill forcing all abortions to be done in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), which could cost clinics hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars to build, was supposed to finish last week. However, the judge asked for a continuance until Wednesday in order to get both sides to present arguments based in fact, “not emotion.”
That worked, sort of. Then the judge asked the kind of poignant, pointed questions everyone has been dying to ask anti-abortion activists in a court of law. “Exactly what is an undue burden?” “If you had a sprained ankle, would we stand for [a full day's travel to a clinic]? Would we stand for that if you needed an appendectomy? Is there any other procedure where we would stand for an entire day to have a minor procedure done?”
It’s not just the judge, either. In fact, everyone is starting to notice that admitting privileges, the first component of HB 2 which shut down over half the state’s clinics already, are really just about presenting a hoop too high to jump through. “Already, more than a dozen clinics have been shuttered in Texas as a result of that state’s admitting-privileges law, and at least one closed in Tennessee,” reports the Washington Post. “Groups say clinics in Oklahoma, Louisiana and Wisconsin face the same fate if new laws there are permitted to take effect. Three of Alabama’s five clinics, and the last remaining clinic in Mississippi, would have shuttered if not for court decisions this month that stopped an admitting-privileges law from going into effect.”
That’s true as well in Toledo, Ohio, where a judge is allowing the last clinic to have a stay while it tries to find some way to get a transfer agreement that the state will approve of (the department of health claims their current agreement is too far away). And it’s true in Sharonville, Ohio, where a clinic will find out on Friday if it will be forced to shut its doors for the same reason.
The crux of admitting privileges and other clinic closing tactics is the idea that there are enough other clinics around to pick up the burden when a provider is gone. In Texas, they want to shift that burden to New Mexico, and in Mississippi they wanted to send them to Alabama. But eventually, as the clinics close, there simply aren’t enough left. The waits get longer, the trips by car lengthier, and then eventually an abortion can’t be obtained at all.
That’s exactly their plan.
One person who has been making out like a bandit with all these admitting privileges laws? Vincent Rue, who appears to make a killing by testifying and writing testimony for abortion opponents heading to trial.
In Minot, N.D., a group of extremist anti-abortion activists took graphic signs and a bloody fetus truck to the streets, where the leader was charged with disorderly conduct. In Ontario, Canada, citizens would like to ban graphic abortion photos but are told it’s a waste of money since a ban could never be upheld in the courts.
Many reproductive rights and civil rights activists have long insisted that there are racial disparities when it comes to access to health care, and especially reproductive and prenatal care. Now, there’s a study out proving that is in fact true. One way to potentially address this disparity issue? An end to the Hyde amendment, which bans those who use Medicaid for their health insurance from being able to use their policy to pay for an abortion.
Abortion opponents in Portland, Ore., aren’t happy simply that their buffer zone has been eliminated. Instead, they want the city to pay them damages of at least $1, to prove they admit they were wrong to put one up in the first place. Of course, to get the city to agree, they are putting even more abortion opponents on the sidewalk, who are being more aggressive than ever. That begs the question, are people around the clinics really just “sidewalk counseling”? Or are they tracking patient license plates, as the “counselors” in Texas are being trained to do?
It’s hard to run for office, especially when you can’t remember if you are for birth control, or against it. Lucky for Sen. Rand Paul, he never has that problem. He knows that if we don’t grant rights to fertilized eggs, the end of civilization will be upon us.
Mississippi was going to challenge the 5th circuit’s ruling that their clinic must remain open, but they got struck by lightening and had to put it off. Unfortunately, they didn’t take the hint and filed the next day instead.
Photo credit: Thinkstock
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