Last Tuesday, one-woman filibuster machine Wendy Davis and her angry feminist army blocked the Texas GOP from voting on an evil omnibus anti-abortion bill. Success! Until the next day, when Governor Rick Perry, Grand Protector of Ladies From Themselves, announced a second special session so he could put the bill back on the table. And the next, when Ohio approved new abortion restrictions that are just as severe as those in Texas. You think you're so special, Texas and Ohio? You're not.
Targeted Restriction of Abortion Providers (TRAP) requirements — unnecessary mandates that are ostensibly supposed to "protect women" but, in reality, make it next to impossible for perfectly safe clinics to stay open — are now in place in 27 states, where 60% of women of reproductive age live, according to new analysis from the Guttmacher Institute. Some TRAP laws force providers to maintain relationships with local hospitals, therefore giving those (often religious) hospitals veto power over whether they can exist. Others force abortion clinics to meet standards for ambulatory surgical centers and require facilities that provide only medication abortion to live up to the same standards as those that provide surgical abortion care. It's all bullshit — and the bullshit is spreading.
"Examining the details of these TRAP requirements, which are usually marketed under the guise of protecting women's health, exposes how little they have do with patient safety," Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher's state issues manager, said in a statement. "For instance, in Virginia, new rules not only mandate larger-than-necessary dimensions for procedure rooms and corridors, but also specify requirements for the ventilation system, parking lot and covered entrances."
On Wednesdays, all abortion providers must wear pink.
Reminder: abortion is an incredibly safe medical procedure. Less than 0.3% of U.S. abortion patients ever have to be hospitalized. The risk of death from childbirth is about 14 times higher than that from abortion, and BLABLABLAH PROTECTING WOMEN BLABLABLAH. Sorry, Rick Perry keeps trying to forcefully guest blog.
These laws are gaining particular steam now thanks to the case of Kermit Gosnell, the Philly provider who was convicted of three counts of murder for running a clinic like a haunted house. But he was able to exploit low-income women because he failed to abide by regulations that already exist. We don't need to bar more disadvantaged women from accessing healthcare. And yet! That's exactly what's happening.
We annotated the map above using Guttmacher's current data on TRAP laws. Feel free to add your own experiences. For every Wendy Davis out there, there's another state that wants to protect you by taking away your control over your own body. (The abortion ban in Texas already exists in 12 other states.) Don't we have heartbeats, too?
Image via Volina/Shutterstock.