September 10, 2012 — Although Roe v. Wade prevents states from banning abortion outright, antiabortion lawmakers have cut access to the procedure by working "to shut down abortion clinics by piling on regulations," The Economist reports.
Supporters of the laws maintain that the regulations protect the health and safety of abortion patients. However, abortion-rights advocates say the provisions, known as TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, are really meant to force abortion providers out of business by making it impossible for them to practice. They argue that the regulations, such as a requirement in Virginia about the width of hallways, have nothing to do with making abortion safer.
The Economist reports that "occasionally the masks slip" and state officials state openly that their aim is to end abortion. For example, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has said he wants Mississippi to be an "abortion-free" state. When signing a Mississippi bill (HB 1390) into law that requires doctors who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, he referenced the state's only remaining abortion clinic, saying, "If it closes that clinic, so be it."
So far, the clinic has been unable to comply with the law's requirements (The Economist, 9/8).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership