How Alabama Plans to Make Abortion Illegal Without Violating Roe v. Wade

In an era in which an invasive abortion procedure is greeted far more nonchalantly than a simple root canal, the state of Alabama has passed legislation which would require abortion clinics to increase the safety measures within each of the five facilities spanning the state.

The legislation was passed with overwhelming majorities in both houses of the state legislature and would require all abortion clinics to meet the standards of an "ambulatory surgical center." This measure essentially makes the facility more accessible for paramedics by widening doorways and expanding patient rooms. Furthermore, the law mandates that all doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at local hospitals.

The constraints associated with this law will force at least three of the five active clinics across the Heart of Dixie to immediately shut their doors until they can comply with the laws. As a result, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood have allied in ardent opposition of this legislation.

The official complaint filed in Planned Parenthood v. Bentley claims, "It is an unreasonable health regulation, and it has the unlawful purpose and effect of imposing an undue burden on women's right to choose abortion."

Conversely, proponents of the law argue that it will raise the standards of health care given to women seeking an abortion; however, many counter that the intentions of this law are far more nefarious.

By implementing such burdensome regulation, the legislature is shutting down clinics and making it far more difficult for women in some parts of the state to obtain abortions.

So the question remains, is it safer to maintain the status quo, thereby allowing legal abortions in a clinic that is not required to meet basic health standards, or is it safer to regulate and close existing clinics that are unable to comply, therefore placing an additional burden on those seeking an abortion?

Regardless of the intention of these lawmakers, it seems clear that it is necessary to require all medical facilities, irrespective of the services offered, to meet basic standards of healthcare facilities.

In the short term, those wishing to receive an abortion will likely suffer the inconveniences of traveling to a further facility, but in the long term, all patients will benefit by raising the standards within these clinics. An abortion is not something that should be treated casually by legislators, doctors, or patients.

After Roe v. Wade, abortions became legal throughout the country, but this does not mean abortion clinics are exempt from conforming to state and federal health standards.

In California, for instance, Proposition 4 passed in 2008, which empowered minors to receive abortions without parental notification, which is striking because a minor must receive consent from a legal guardian to even receive a basic teeth cleaning from the dentist.

Strawmen, red herrings, and ad hominem attacks have all become commonplace when women's health issues arise, but perhaps instead of accusing the opposition of waging a "war on women," each side should evaluate the best options available for the health of every American. 

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Chelsey Mullins

Chelsey received her Masters Degree in International Relations from the University of San Diego in 2012. Her academic interests include the MENA region, democratization, and Party politics. Her personal interests include the Lakers, video games, travel, and a solid California burrito.

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