New abortion laws have caused more than 50 abortion clinics throughout the country to close or stop offering the procedure since 2010, according to The Huffington Post. A Wisconsin law passed earlier this year is fairly typical of the trend, requiring women to view ultrasound results before allowing them abortions.
Similar laws include one in North Dakota (outlawing abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy) and one in Arkansas (banning abortions after 12 weeks).
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) claimed the new restrictions would help women make more informed choices.
“This bill improves a woman’s ability to make an informed choice that will protect her mental health now and in the future,” he said.
Elizabeth Nash, states issues manager for the Guttmacher Institute, disagreed.
“These laws do nothing to protect women’s health or improve the quality of abortion care,” she said.
As an example, she pointed out that nine states have enacted laws requiring abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges (though not all of these laws are currently in effect).
“In general, admitting privileges are an economic relationship between a provider and a hospital to assure a supply of patients to a hospital,” she explained. “It is common for the privilege agreement to require that the provider admit a certain number of patients a year, something that is very rare in abortion care given that abortion is a very safe procedure with less than 0.5 percent of abortions resulting in complications that require hospitalization.”
She went on to say that in the “unlikely event” of an emergency, every hospital would be required to treat the patient, who may be “closer to a different hospital than the one that has entered into the agreement with the provider.”
While the laws won’t create healthier abortion conditions, they may cause problems for women in need of the procedure, Nash worried.
“Clinics may close as a result of new, overly-burdensome clinic regulations or hospital admitting privilege requirements,” she said. “Providers may not be able to offer medication abortion as a method of early abortion, and women face the prospect of lengthy waiting periods before obtaining an abortion, limits on abortion coverage in health plans, and inaccurate and misleading information in abortion counseling.”
On top of health and availability issues, new laws may raise financial concerns as well. Idaho recently shelled out $376,000 of taxpayers’ money after a woman sued the state when she was charged with having an illegal abortion, according to the Associated Press.
With the national trend toward states restricting abortions, one might assume there is a strong anti-abortion sentiment among the general populous — but data from Gallup shows that’s not the case.
Twenty-six percent of Americans favor legalizing abortion under all circumstances and 13 percent feel it should be legal in most circumstances. Thirty-eight percent want it legalized only in a few circumstances, while 20 percent want it to be entirely illegal.
Regardless of whether they support or oppose abortion, however, many Americans view it as a moral issue, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The Pew data showed a stronger anti-abortion skew than the Gallup numbers, with 46 percent of respondents saying abortion is morally wrong, 15 percent saying it’s morally acceptable, and 23 percent saying it’s not a moral issue.
It’s worth noting a difference in phrasing between the surveys: Gallup asked about legality, while Pew asked about morality. Gallup may also have provided more nuanced options by allowing respondents choices such as “in all cases,” “in some cases,” and “never.”
The new restrictions aren’t getting by without a fight, either. Shortly after Walker signed the Wisconsin bill into law, a federal judge put a 10-day freeze on it. Another federal judge recently ruled that Mississippi could not shut down the only functioning abortion clinic in the state while the clinic has a lawsuit pending (which will go to trial next spring).
But, Nash was not hopeful on that score.
“While abortion supporters have had some success in the courts, so many restrictions have been enacted in the past three years that it is impossible to challenge them all,” she said.
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At some point, regulations piled on top of regulations makes seeking an abortion near impossible. I'm still on the fence about abortion as a whole, though.
I think it is an interesting point to raise about costs. In Texas, they extended the special session of the Legislature just to pass more restrictions on abortions. Not only does that mean additional costs for the extended session, but legal challenges are likely so those are added costs over an issue that most people perceive as a moral issue. There was nothing fiscally responsible about extending a legislative session just for an abortion bill.
20 percent is actually higher than i had thought. until that number goes down i think we'll continue to see more regressive abortion policies
@usarespnsblty (2/2) But requiring admitting privileges can shut down clinics that don't have them, which limits access to abortions.
@usarespnsblty (1/2) See paragraph immediately after your quote. All hospitals have to treat in case of emergency, so no extra benefit.
@usarespnsblty Well, lets see - if a pregnancy causes health complications, what might help? Your trite dismissal is ignorant and insulting.
@highammichael I think that's the point. If ultraconservatives can't overturn Roe v. Wade, they'll add so much red tape abortion is effectively outlawed anyway.
@Shawn M Griffiths Very true, Shawn. That's money that could be spent on infrastructure or education.
@Alextest I was reading some interesting info on Gallup that most Americans think other Americans are generally pro-choice, but that's not necessarily true. In other words, we overestimate how pro-choice America is.
@GlenLFlanagan I would be willing to bet that a hospital would provide better care than a hole in the wall clinic... like Gosnell's
@GlenLFlanagan so then access would be less. Do you have evidence to back that up?
@GlenLFlanagan so by requiring admitting privileges, clinics will shut down. & you are saying there are more abortion clinics than hospitals
@GlenLFlanagan she had her baby who is now an incredible young girl & my sister is no longer diabetic. She is so glad to not have aborted.
@GlenLFlanagan my sister became diabetic during her pregnancy. That is a health complication. Was she supposed to abort?
@GlenLFlanagan if a woman willingly gets pregnant & then has some complications, how does that justify murder? That is a risk of pregnancy.
@GlenLFlanagan what is the percentage of cases with health complications that require abortion? 40% of pregnancies are aborted in Brooklyn.
@GlenLFlanagan what health complication requires an abortion? Sorry that I have not heard of health complications, just imminent death.
@usarespnsblty Now you're just throwing around snark & rhetoric. Typical. Come back when you're interested in more than your agenda.
@GlenLFlanagan this article says "facts" at the top but most items have no source. Article is 10 years old and admits some changes were made
@GlenLFlanagan no. I was very clear, but again do you have evidence that requiring going to a hospital = leas access?
@usarespnsblty You mean evidence other than the 50+ clinics that have already shut down or stopped offering abortions?
@GlenLFlanagan I was asking a question. Will there be less access because there are more abortion clinics than hospitals?
@usarespnsblty Never said that. Not sure how you came to that conclusion.
@GlenLFlanagan calling it murder isnt so much about morality as it is about truth. Call it pregnancy cancelation. It doesn't change the fact
@GlenLFlanagan a robber in a convenient store end up shooting the clerk in the head killing him. Do they call it an immoral shooting?
@GlenLFlanagan you didn't provide facts & figures either. You didnt even provide both sides of the issue which is what I was pointing out.
@GlenLFlanagan if a pregnancy is going to result in imminent death, the woman should have been consulting a doctor & would be in a hospital
@GlenLFlanagan yes having an abortion can result in depression. That is a risk of pregnancy.
@GlenLFlanagan abortion is not a disease. In my opinion it is not a health issue it is a life issue. 3rd time, how abortion a health issue
@GlenLFlanagan hey, fine you don't have to admit abortion or termination of defenseless life is murder.
@usarespnsblty "Abortion is murder." I'm not here to argue morality with you. My piece was on health issues. I'm done responding to you.
@usarespnsblty Something that can throw a woman into depression and severely alter her body? That's a health issue.
@GlenLFlanagan dude, your article was about abortion. How is that a health issue? I said willingly as opposed to rape & abortion is murder
@usarespnsblty See the rhetoric? "Willingly gets pregnant." "Murder." Doesn't sound like you're interested in health issues to me.
@GlenLFlanagan I was not dismissing anything. I was pointing out that your article was missing information because you are clearly biased.
@usarespnsblty When you dismiss serious issues with uninformed snark, I have a responsibility to call you on it.
@usarespnsblty Got a source for that?