TRAP laws

Watch John Oliver unpack the absurdity of state abortion restrictions

(screen grab)

With the Supreme Court due to hear a vital Texas abortion law on March 2, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has provided a easy-to-follow overview of the legal means being used to shut down abortion clinics. Since 2010, new state laws have led to the closure of about 70 abortion clinics in a dozen states — North Dakota, South Dakota, Mississippi, and Missouri are all down to one abortion clinic each. The 1992 Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood vs. Casey gives states the right to regulate abortion clinics so long as it doesn’t place “an undue burden” on women seeking abortions. With that ruling as precedent, and in the name of “protecting women’s health,” Republicans have been passing Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TARP) laws in order to force clinics to close.

One such law, the Texas HB 2 law to be heard before the Supreme Court on March 2, requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers and for doctors to have hospital admitting privileges at a hospital no more than 30 miles away. The bill has already shut down over 42 clinics, some for reasons as trivial as hallways not being wide enough, and many more for not having doctors with the required privileges — despite testimony from both the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that requiring such privileges “has no medical basis.” Abortion may still be legal, but, due to TRAP laws, in many states the procedure remains inaccessible nonetheless.

Watch the video on YouTube.

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