After Wendy Davis’s recent filibuster, the proposed anti-abortion measures in Texas have been in the foreground of the news lately. The bill Davis was protesting would require abortion centers to have the same standards as hospital-style surgical centers and require that doctors performing procedures at abortion centers also have admitting privileges at a hospital. These measures would cause most of the abortion centers in the state to close. But Texas isn’t the only state where lawmakers are using ostensibly well-meaning laws for higher medical standards to instead dramatically restrict women’s access to abortions.
Here are four states that are gearing up to pass targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) bills that are even worse than the one Davis was fighting.
Bette Grande, a state representative in North Dakota, helped draft a bill that bans abortion as soon as a fetal heartbeat can be detected — one of the most of restrictive abortion bills in the entire country. Governor Jack Dalrymple signed the bill shortly after it was passed, but North Dakota’s single abortion clinic has filed a federal lawsuit in an attempt to block the law.
North Carolina’s Senate Republicans recently passed House Bill 695 after giving only 90 minutes of public notice. Protesters did not have time to assemble. The bill mandates that doctors working at abortion clinics have “transfer privileges” (similar to admitting privileges) at a nearby hospital. As hospitals are mindful of their funding, political issues can pressure them into denying doctors transfer privileges, a strategy that has also been used to shutter two clinics in Ohio.
The Arkansas “Human Heartbeat Protection Act” is due to take effect very shortly throughout the state. The bill would prohibit most abortions after 12 weeks if a fetal heartbeat can be heard. The ACLU of Arkansas and the Center for Reproduction Rights have filed lawsuits, hoping to block the law from taking effect.
A federal judge has temporarily blocked a new Wisconsin law that would require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals (a restriction very similar to the North Carolina bill). The law was signed by the Governor Scott Walker in mid-June, and also includes a provision that requires women to have ultrasounds before getting an abortion. An extensive analysis recently undertaken by the Guttmacher Institute examines the links between doctors and hospitals and concludes that they do little to add to patient safeguards, while essentially giving the hospital the right to decide whether or not to permit an abortion clinic to exist.