Depending where you live, you may or may not think much about the varying abortion laws that affect different parts of our country. Personally, I live in the fifth largest city in the United States and could hop on the bus, go get an abortion, and take an Uber home if I needed to. But it’s not even remotely that easy for women in many parts of our country. Due to crippling abortion laws, North Dakota, Mississippi, Missouri, and South Dakota are now down to just one abortion clinic per state.
As John Oliver pointed out on this week’s Last Week Tonight, thanks to the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs. Casey Supreme Court ruling that says states can place restrictions on abortions, as long as they don’t “place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion,” state laws are muddier and more vague than ever.
For instance, Texas’ HB-2 laws require abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers, and requires their doctors to have hospital-admitting privileges — which sounds great on paper, but actually means that an abortion clinic can be shut down for something as trivial as the clinic hallways “not being wide enough.” Likewise, both the American Medical Association and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology say that there is no medical basis to impose hospital admitting privileges on abortion clinics.
It just gets worse from there, to the point that stringent abortion laws are forcing women to use what they have in their kitchen cabinets to perform what used to be known as “back alley abortions.” Let this serve as a heavy reminder as to how important it is for whoever we vote in as president this year to have a progressive women’s health agenda.