It’s a TRAP!
Posted by Caitlyn Martin
February 3, 2016
Every year, hundreds of abortion restrictions are proposed in the United States. The most popular forms of laws include mandatory counseling at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours before the abortion, banning the use of telemedicine for medication abortion, requiring providers to perform an ultrasound, and limiting public funding for the procedure. Personhood laws are also being introduced at alarming rates, as state legislators attempt to undo the progress Roe v. Wade.
There are other laws, far more sneaky, that slip through frequently because they are disguised as laws that protect women’s medical safety. These are known as TRAP laws: Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers. According to an article in the LA Times, “Unlike personhood initiatives, TRAP laws are designed to fly under the radar, by mimicking ordinary health regulations.”
These laws are designed to impose more regulations on abortion providers without coming right out and saying so. That same article goes on to say, “Abortion providers often find it logistically or financially impossible to renovate their facilities to meet ASC requirements and so much close.” Some of these requirements are the same as those of surgical systems; an abortion clinic would not realistically need to meet these requirements to continue functioning as a safe medical center.
Maybe if these laws were being passed across the board in all fields of medicine, abortion advocates might be mollified. Unfortunately, that is far from the case: “TRAP laws single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices.” These are not just laws that just so happen to have the most negative impact on abortion providers; there is nothing coincidental about it and these laws are enacted with the restriction of abortion in mind. In fact, in 2012, Mississippi’s then-governor, Phil Bryant, said after signing a TRAP bill into law, “Today you see the first step in a movement to…try and end abortion in Mississippi.”
Bryant made no attempts to disguise his political agenda. In that single statement, he made it clear that this was not a law designed to protect women’s health and safety—as is often claimed—but that it was a calculated measure to eradicate abortions in his state once and for all. And Mississippi isn’t alone: “TRAP requirements are now in place in 27 states, where fully 60% of women of reproductive age live. Nearly all of these states apply the requirements to abortion clinics, although the definition of clinic varies from state to state. In 15 states, the requirements also apply to private physicians who perform abortions in their private practices. And in the most extreme application, 18 states impose the rules on facilities in which medication abortions are performed, even if surgical procedures are not offered on-site.”
The ultimate goal behind TRAP laws is scary: the harder it is to obtain an abortion, whether through obvious personhood initiatives or subtle and sneaky TRAP laws, the people who need the service will stop trying to get it.
We know this isn’t true, and we deserve politicians who will pass legislation that actually protecting our health, not advance their own anti-choice agenda.
If you’re like me and you’re fed up with the increasingly restrictive mandates on abortion, I urge you to take action! Sign petitions, contact your state legislators, educate others, and do whatever it takes to let state governments know that TRAP laws aren’t reasonable, helpful, or acceptable.
Get out there and get your voice heard!