Repro Wrap: TRAPs Are Working, Buffers Aren’t, and Clinics Just Keep Closing

The biggest news this week was the 5th Circuit’s decision that Mississippi’s 2012 law requiring all doctors who do abortions have admitting privileges could not be used to shut the state’s only clinic down. As a result of that decision, a number of other states are finding themselves wondering if their own laws are constitutional or not. Alabama’s similar TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) bill is in mid-litigation, and the judge has decided to hold off on his ruling until Monday to take the Mississippi ruling into consideration. Now Louisiana and Oklahoma are both trying to convince their residents that their own identical laws which will close all but one or two clinics per state won’t be blocked as well.

If Alabama’s TRAP bill does survive the courts on Monday, there will be just one open clinic in the state, in Tuscaloosa. The Huntsville clinic is supposed to be reopening soon in a new location, in a building that meets the bill’s new regulations. But a city council member is getting in the way of that reopening, allowing anti-abortion activists to stake a claim that although the building was zoned for medical procedures before, it shouldn’t be anymore, and that it is too close to a school to be allowed to open. If the space gets rezoned to keep the clinic from opening, well, that will be just one more case for the courts.

Sadly, the Mississippi decision can’t do anything to stop the flood of clinics being closed by TRAP bills in Texas. Although the new regulations in Texas’s HB 2 still have a month before they fully go into effect, more Texas clinics are shuttering as they admit they can’t adhere to the strict and medically unnecessary regulations of the new law. This week the Austin location of Whole Women’s Health shut its doors, suffering a similar fate to its clinics in western and south Texas earlier this year. “Women deserve the kind of care that we offer,” owner Amy Hagstrom Miller told Cosmo. “They deserve that holistic approach that welcomes the whole woman and her whole family to be part of day that is very challenging for most women in their lives. This community is losing that care model for no reason.”

In Kansas, one of the state’s last handful of clinics has closed, citing the provider’s decision to retire, but the clinic had also been facing the same type of regulation into an ambulatory surgical center that the Texas clinics were mandated to undergo, though they had been battling those regulations in court. That leaves the state with just two clinics in Kansas City, and one in Wichita. The last clinic in Toledo, Ohio, had its license revoked this week for failing to obtain a transfer agreement with a hospital within 30 miles, and if a court does not block the order there will be no more providers in western Ohio.

If there is any doubt that the plan is literally to shut down as many clinics as possible by legislation, then force out each clinic one by one that is still left, this news that a Catholic Church has purchased the building housing the only abortion clinic in Lansing, Michigan, and is forcing it to move out in 2 months should make it clear. Unless the clinic can find a new building to lease, the capital of Michigan will be without a provider, and pregnant people will be driving an hour and a half in one direction to get to clinics in Detroit, Flint or Grand Rapids instead.

While TRAP bills are closing down clinics across the country, the eroding of buffer zones due to the recent Supreme Court ruling is making it that much more difficult for patients to access the front doors without harassment. New York reports of abortion protesters physically setting themselves in place to provoke confrontations with patients, and a San Francisco Planned Parenthood says protesters are “plaguing” them. A New Hampshire’s buffer zone is currently on hold. Massachusetts, meanwhile, has passed a new bill that may not have the permanence of a buffer for preventing harassment, but it does have serious teeth to punish anti-abortion activists once they do interfere with a patient’s right to access care. The question is, will abortion opponents start suing the city back, like these protesters are in Jackson, Miss., where they claim they are being unfairly targeted by police.

Protesting clinics isn’t just about abortion, either. This week in Cosmo, I reported on a full scale series of tactics trying to shut a new Planned Parenthood in Richfield, Minn. That clinic simply offers birth control.

All those stories a bit of a downer? Then be sure to read this amazing article on Dr. Willie Parker, the provider at the last clinic in Mississippi, and remember exactly why reproductive rights are worth fighting for.

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jim V
Jim Ven11 months ago


Jerome S
Jerome S11 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Michael T.
Michael T3 years ago

@Shirley T sez: Why are they so intimidated?

That is an excellent question @Shirley T.

And from that question we might want to consider asking

Why, and how, is our society the way it is in regard to gender differences?

On many levels.

What is the current behavioral gender paradigm? It has long been one of patriarchy, and misogyny, occasionally slavery depending on how far back we go. We see another attempt by females to even the playing field after obtaining the vote, more laws requiring equal pay and addressing other current imbalance, and it is being met with pushback. It was more violent when women demanded the right to vote. Now the pushback is to try to maintain a claim for dominance over a woman’s sexuality.

Shirley Townsend
Shirley T3 years ago

Every woman that has availed herself of the right to abortion needs to stand up for this right. What is wrong with women that will not stand up for others? Why are they so intimated?

Janis K.
Janis K3 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Phil M.
Phil M3 years ago

Nikolas K. please tell me i am dreaming and not encountering a douche . In case it has been a while for you let me refresh your memory how this is supposed to work , when a man and a woman have sex they are both responsible parties .Yes you heard me right BOTH . If a pregnancy occurs we men should be held equally accountable but society thanks to Princess like you puts the responsibility and blame all on the woman . So now after you put all the blame on the woman you want to go ahead and tell her what she should and should not do as well. Read Michael's comment and familiarize yourself with the info , we men can get a woman pregnant at any age you might need it one day , cause we all know it is easy to preach until it happens to us .

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm3 years ago

EXACTLY Michael. They love to wordsmith around the whole birthing thing.

Michael T.
Michael T3 years ago

Nikki boy, ha-ha-ha, I can see your problem and confusion as clear as day. It is apparent that you are confused by words, and how they have been applied unfortunately, to confuse you and distort your understanding so significantly.

Children are the beings and creatures that are the product OF the birthing process. They are not the creatures we call a fetus, and prior to that an embryo, etc. Let me help you here, a fetus, does not become a child UNTIL AFTER it is born and has been removed from the uterus.

Therefore, a fetus remains a fetus and it is not an unborn child. Therefore, having an abortion is not murder.

I know that, over the years, people have muddied the waters on this issue by making references to fetus's as unborn children,

but that doesn’t make it true or a reality.

Now go fix your word bank

nd brain memory on this

and everything will be fine from here on.

Robert Hamm
Robert Hamm3 years ago

Hmmmmmmm I see nothing in your patriarchal senseless rant about the football player who dodesnt keep his dick in his pants Nik………why is that? Why is it only the females responsibility?? If males are the holders of the standards and therfore leaders of society why arent THEY making sure no one gets pregnant??

Why is it the GIRLS all atwitter bragging to their girlfriends???? What about the guys bragging about their conquests?? The guy isnt having a quickie too?? And how often will the guy be made to pay for the baby he created??

Nikolas K.
Nikolas K3 years ago

Murder of an unborn child is murder regardless of how women dress it up to justify their actions, because they wanted to have a quickie so as to be approved by girl friends that they actually had sex with the football hero or just wanted it to be known they were no longer virgins that they had joined to sex club so to speak, or if older or married they chose the office stud. All this without a thought of consequence. Then they demand to be able to commit murder and think they are now living a better life without the baggage of an unwanted child.