GOP Succeeds in Shutting Down Abortion Clinics


After the Tea Party movement led to Republicans taking control of most state legislatures in 2010, they immediately made abortion their first priority and have passed an unprecedented wave of laws that have now forced more than 50 clinics to close down around the country, with a lot more almost certainly on the way.

According to a Huffington Post analysis, at least 52 abortion clinics across 26 states have shut down since 2010. The shrinking number of abortion providers in the country is a direct result of harsh state laws that are specifically intended to target clinics. Those type of anti-abortion measures — known as the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, or TRAP laws — have dramatically spread over the past three years. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 27 states now have unnecessary TRAP laws on the books.

Not every single clinic closure over the past three years was the direct result of state legislation. But the sheer number of abortion providers shutting down is unprecedented.

“This kind of change is incredibly dramatic,” Elizabeth Nash, the state issues manager at the Guttmacher Institute, told the Huffington Post in reference to the dozens of recent clinic closures. Nash explained that although there’s been a slow decline in the number of legal abortion providers since 1982, the dramatic changes over the past several years are “so different from what’s happened in the past.”

There are likely to be even more closures in the near future. States like Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Wisconsin pushed through new TRAP laws this summer that will likely force some clinics in those states to consolidate or shut down altogether. Litigation has successfully prevented other states like Mississippi and Alabama from shuttering clinics, but those providers will only be able to keep operating as long as courts continue ruling in their favor. The diminished access to quality providers is already forcing many women to cross state lines to get an abortion.

As a result, the right to choose is functionally gone for women who live in wide swaths of the country. And so is access to birth control, prenatal care, cancer screening and other services, especially for poor and minority women.

Comments

  1. TGAP Dad says

    Just curious about this – you legally knowledgable people chime in – but would it be possible to open clinics in Native American reservations? It seems that if casinos are out of state’s reach, then clinics would be as well.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    they immediately made abortion their first priority

    I’m sure you must be mistaken about that. They insisted, and still insist, that jobs are their first priority. ~~

  3. says

    I’m with Reginald Selkirk. You must me mistaken. We were told that they were firm Fiscal Conservatives, concerned primarily with the size and cost of government, the taxation required to support it, and limiting the scope and power of government. Further, it was insisted that they were not simply the Religious Right-slash-Social Conservatives in tri-cornered hats.
    Ergo, closing family planning centers must be all about cutting government spending, lowering taxes, and preventing government from getting all up in peoples’…
    Oh.
    Oh shit.
    I’m starting to think that we’ve been lied to.
    Dang.

  4. says

    Well to be fair, once they abolish the minimum wage, unions, regulations, and the social safety net, they’re going to need plenty of replacement workers for the death trap factories they can finally build in the good old USA.

  5. raven says

    This only effects poor and young women.

    The middle class and above will just travel to another state or country.

    So what does the GOP plan to do with all those unwanted babies born to poor, young and single mothers?

    IIRC, when Texas defunded Planned Parenthood, there was an immediate increase in the welfare case load. Enough that they decided to try and fix their own mistake.

  6. says

    There was a clinic just down the street from my office that they managed to shut down. I could tell right away, because the obnoxious Catholic protesters all disappeared. Up until then, they had been there almost every day, waving around big rosaries and graphic signs. Their presence made me start every day a little bit angry, but now their absence leaves me even angrier. Damn theocrats.

  7. raven says

    This really is an attack on their own society.

    Children growing up in poverty rarely escape it. This has been shown by study after study.

    And the GOP states are already mostly the most backward and backwater of our states. I guess they will just wallow in poverty and social dysfunction some more.

  8. maddog1129 says

    When supposedly “neutral” “regulation” is specifically targeted to one kind of provider only, and is intended to burden a constitutional right into extinction, how can the regulations survive even rational basis scrutiny? There is no actual reason for the regulations, they are not reasonably related to the actual provision of the medical services in question. The regulations are strictly pretextual, and pretextually strict. The sole purpose is to take away what the constitution grants. How can this succeed?

  9. uzza says

    One thing that helped them achieve this is having gotten everyone in the world to refer to a health care center– that provides cancer screening, STD testing, prenatal care, and birth control, including vasectomies,– as an “abortion clinic”. Kind of like Walmart is a viagra store.

  10. Skip White says

    So I wonder if the acronym TRAP was a complete accident, or did they start from there and work backwards? Sort of like if I started a group called Families United for Caring and Kindness.

  11. Reginald Selkirk says

    The diminished access to quality providers is already forcing many women to cross state lines to get an abortion.

    And that takes money to pay clinic fees and travel costs. Which takes a hero:
    Crusader with a checkbook: Anne Nicol Gaylor helps women fund abortions

    Gaylor is well-known for leading the Freedom From Religion Foundation in Madison for decades. Less known is her work with the Women’s Medical Fund, which she co-founded in 1976, the same year she helped start the foundation.

  12. Trebuchet says

    I may get flamed for this, but it’s an unfortunate consequence of Obama’s decision to go for a health care law early in his first term. That was a disaster when Clinton did it, turning government over to the likes of Newt Gingrich, and it was pretty predictable that much the same thing would happen again. That it happened prior to the 2010 election was particularly tragic, because redistricting after the 2010 census allowed Republican dominated legislatures to gerrymander themselves into power for the next 10 years.

  13. Reginald Selkirk says

    I may get flamed for this, but it’s an unfortunate consequence of Obama’s decision to go for a health care law early in his first term.

    Strike while the iron is hot. Look before you leap.
    Political capital is worthless unless you spend it.

  14. D. C. Sessions says

    So what does the GOP plan to do with all those unwanted babies born to poor, young and single mothers?

    I believe Tyson is working on that problem.

  15. Trebuchet says

    Strike while the iron is hot. Look before you leap.
    Political capital is worthless unless you spend it.

    The first two seem a bit contradictory. I can’t argue with the third one, except to say that Obama seems to have had significantly less political capital than he may have thought.

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    raven #6: So what does the GOP plan to do with all those unwanted babies born to poor, young and single mothers?

    Under-educate them. It’s called “growing hte base.”

  17. laurentweppe says

    And so is access to birth control, prenatal care, cancer screening and other services, especially for poor and minority women.

    Therefore longevity and sexual freedom are once again privileges reserved to members of the hereditary upper-class, as was intended from the very beginning by the “pro-life” leadership

  18. sbuh says

    #13

    Nothing I’ve seen in the past six years has given me reason to believe that Obama could have done anything to appease Republicans or make them less hostile.

    This is the new normal for Republicans and will only get worse until it finally breaks down and they find themselves relegated to a permanent minority status.

  19. raven says

    Nothing I’ve seen in the past six years has given me reason to believe that Obama could have done anything to appease Republicans or make them less hostile.

    True.

    Health care is just an excuse. It isn’t even that big a deal, an incremental change to our existing already kludged together system.

    If Obama was comatose for the last 6 years, they would be doing exactly what they are doing now.

    Look what they did to Clinton, for having a wildly successful adminstration. Look what they didn’t do to Bush for wrecking the economy and country.

  20. raven says

    Obamacare is just a made up excuse. If it wasn’t that, it would be something else.

    It’s quite clear they are nihilists who can only destroy.

    It’s clear they will destroy Obamacare if they can. One of their tactics is to demand that people not sign up for the insurance exchanges.

    Last I read, enrollment was going well and above target.

    If Obamacare is a success, they are going to have some explaining to do. So far it is going OK and there are reasons to believe it will work. It is modeled after the system put in place by…Romney!!! in Massachusetts, which I’ve been told is working.

  21. Trebuchet says

    Nothing I’ve seen in the past six years has given me reason to believe that Obama could have done anything to appease Republicans or make them less hostile.

    This is the new normal for Republicans and will only get worse until it finally breaks down and they find themselves relegated to a permanent minority status.

    I entirely agree. What “Obamacare” did was provide them a single galvanizing issue they could lie about and get large number of the people who would most benefit from them to vote against their best interests. A national health plan needed — and still needs, since ACA is pretty weak — to happen. I’m just unhappy that it happened in 2009 and 2010.

  22. Michael Heath says

    I don’t view the 2010 elections as people turning out to vote Republican because of Obamacare. So this idea that Obamcare was the cause of the ’10 doesn’t ring true to me at all.

    What I do see is how racist white conservatives remain and how their bigotry animated them to turn-out and vote in ’10, while far too many non-conservatives stayed home. Polls never showed people were passionately against the president’s health-care policy, with the exception of white conservative Christians who already hated the president and were using whatever issues were available to justify their hatred of him. As if they weren’t really racist but instead had principled objections against the president’s policies.

  23. francesc says

    @19
    “This is the new normal for Republicans and will only get worse until it finally breaks down and they find themselves relegated to a permanent minority status”
    A little bit of wishfull thinking there? You are in a two-party system. Even if republicans where stupid enough not to find a way out of the hate-pit they seem to be digging, people would get tired of democrats governing and come back to vote them. Unless a big third party could arise in the meantime.

  24. mommiest says

    @Trebuchet

    I get the political costs you’re calculating, but there is always a human cost to waiting.

    We are in the individual market after a job loss, small business start-up, and loss of coverage that we were paying for under COBRA. My husband was denied coverage by one company for preexisting conditions (acid reflux and a hernia, and no I am not kidding). Two weeks before my daughter turned 18, she was taken from school by ambulance to the ER and where we leaned about another preexisting condition. She needs the coverage we can provide by keeping her on our policy now. And I am currently delaying some medical care to make sure we will have full ACA protections before this latest annoyance becomes part of my medical records.

    Four extra years of waiting for the ACA would also mean four more years before the benefits kick in. Those of us in the individual market get screwed. Some of us go bankrupt. As it is now, we’re pretty sure we can hang in until we get the same protections most people get in the group market. I’m relieved we won’t have to deal with this until 2018.

  25. says

    What “Obamacare” did was provide them a single galvanizing issue they could lie about and get large number of the people who would most benefit from them to vote against their best interests.

    And you think they’d be deprived of such galvanizing issues if Obamacare hadn’t happened? Please. They’ve been making up “galvanizing issues” at least since 1980, the pace at which they did so tripled around 1993, and doubled again shortly after the current recession hit.

    I agree that the Democrats’ longstanding incessant focus on healthcare has been a costly strategic mistake, despite its good intentions; but it is NOT the cause of Republican hyperpartisanship.

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