This week has been another week of massive abortion restrictions across the country via TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) regulations, but, unlike past attacks that we’ve seen in the states, some new, ingenious tactics are being unveiled. The week started out with an urgent alert about a Louisiana clinic regulation about to be debated by the health department that would in essence create a 30-day wait for an abortion. Overwhelmed by public outrage, that regulation was pulled, although many of the other pieces left in place could still shutter every clinic in the state. As one lawyer associated with the providers told reporters, as they are currently written not one clinic in the state is in compliance.
Indiana faced a similar “shut them all down” TRAP bill this week, with a piece of legislation that would remove the grandfather clause from last year’s bill to require all abortion clinics to remodel as ASC (Ambulatory Surgical Centers), not just clinics built after 1992, as well as eliminate a clinic or provider’s ability to use a local back up doctor to treat any complications on the rare case that one arises. After some maneuvering, the bill was amended to leave the clinic situation where it has been, and continue to allow back up doctors to be used. However, the state is requiring that the names of those back ups be disclosed. In a highly volatile landscape of abortion opponents, that leaves those doctors ripe for harassment and pressure from abortion opponents to force them to stop “supporting abortion.”
Even without the new rules, one clinic is already in danger in Indiana. The Lafayette Planned Parenthood, which only provided medication abortion, was the primary target of the law last year to require all clinics to be remodeled as ASCs, even if they didn’t do physical procedures. The clinic sued over the bill. Now they will go to court in June to ask it to be permanently blocked.
With so many clinics closing, or in danger of closing, especially due to lack of providers with admitting privileges, what are those who still want abortions going to do? As Lindsay Beyerstein reports, they will do them themselves, and then find doctors to manage the eventual miscarriage. Because yes, we really have turned the clock back to 1969.
Arizona is once more advocating that medication abortion be performed only by doctors, and make each dose require a trip into a clinic, a move that is likely to end the practice all together in the state. A Missouri 72-hour waiting period has cleared another legislative hurdle and next will be reviewed by the rules committee. A Kentucky ultrasound bill has cleared its own committee as well, but may get stuck in the senate as it has in years past. South Dakota wants to make it illegal to reprimand a teacher for “providing instruction on personhood before birth or other related topics,” while Kansas wants to make it illegal to have a child via a surrogate.
While one faction of Kansas Republicans are attacking surrogacy because it’s not a “natural” way to produce children, the state’s most well known anti-choice group has started a petition drive to pressure the attorney general to begin proceedings to shut down the clinics in the state that are out of compliance with the new omnibus abortion bill passed last session. The biggest issue the clinics are having getting into compliance? Yep, you guessed it, admitting privileges.
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has said he would prefer not to challenge the federal court’s ruling that the state’s ultrasound law is unconstitutional, making it clear that the governor is feeling a little concerned about his reelection prospects. He’s not the only governor who could be at risk, either. Abortion politics could come to haunt Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s reelection, too. Or at least, that’s the hope of his challenger, Ed Fitzgerald. The question is, will that be framed as women’s health, or reproductive rights?
Lately, it seems like there’s not a lot of room for moderates when it comes to reproductive rights, at least, not on the GOP side. Wisconsin is losing its last moderate state senator, who has chosen not to run for reelection because he knows he can’t win a primary anymore. In Georgia, four Republicans vying for the senate nomination are out anti-choicing each other, each trying to see who can be the most extremely opposed to abortion rights.
But, to end on a happy note, Colorado’s legislature has once again rejected a “personhood”-esque bill, which means that no legislation or ballot initiative that would totally ban all abortions has ever made it into law, despite the now near dozen times it has been proposed in the state.
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