Monday, June 27, 2016


[CN: abortion, misogyny, etc.] 


That was the Supreme Court vote striking down the TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws. (For an awesome summary of what these laws are, the Center for Reproductive Rights has a link here.)


Five justices ruled that the width of the hallway, doorway, and ventilation system has nothing to do with whether or not a woman can get appropriate, safe healthcare at an abortion clinic. Five justices ruled that requiring abortion clinics to have admitting privileges at a hospital was unnecessary for a procedure that is statistically safer than a colonoscopy and childbirth (and unnecessary by virtue of the fact that any patient with a life-threatening medical emergency will be admitted to a hospital, whether the clinic has admitting privileges or not). Five justices ruled that when the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said that these TRAP laws did nothing to protect women's health and instead actually caused a detriment to women's health because they restricted access to abortion care, they were right. (Imagine that, actual doctors knowing more about providing medical care than politicians do.)

But the thing is, it was never about protecting women's health.

Women will have abortions whether they are safe or not. Whether they are done by a professional or a back-alley "doctor" or the woman herself. These politicians know this. They know. 

They know that women who do not want to be pregnant will do whatever they have to do in order to no longer be pregnant. They know that women who do not have access to safe, legal abortions generally end up injured or dead. 

For those who claim to be "pro-life," this is acceptable collateral damage, if they even choose to acknowledge it at all in any meaningful way. It's mind-boggling how easy it is for them to ignore (or even condone) the fully preventable deaths of actual living, breathing women. It's almost like these TRAP laws have nothing to do with protecting women's health and everything to do with controlling women or something.  

A perfect example of this is when Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg confronted Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller during oral arguments back in March (you can read a great recap of that here). The Notorious RBG asked him how many women would have an undue burden placed on them in the form of living 100 miles or more from the clinic if the TRAP laws were to go into effect. He responded that about 25 percent of women would be affected by the TRAP laws--however, there was another clinic in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, just over the border from El Paso. He argued that the law did not impose an undue burden on abortion-seeking women in El Paso because they could just go across the state line. Justice Ginsburg wasted no time in ripping that argument apart--the New Mexico clinic would not face the same restrictions as the clinic in Texas, restrictions which Keller was in the middle of arguing were for the purpose of protecting women. So, Ginsburg argued, New Mexico's clinic was not a viable option for women seeking abortions since those clinics did not have the same standards that Texas was arguing their clinics should have in order to protect women's health--if it was truly about protecting women, then why suggest women go to a clinic with "lower" standards to prove that no undue burden would exist as a result of the TRAP laws going into effect? If the clinics in New Mexico were good enough for the women of Texas, why weren't the clinics in Texas OK exactly the way they already were?

The answer: it was never about protecting women's health. It was about punishing women who dared have sex without the express purpose of reproducing. It was about punishing women who dared say no to forced gestation and birth. It was about making the right to an abortion as inaccessible and unaffordable as possible so that the right itself might as well not exist. 

The Supreme Court, thankfully, saw through the hypocrisy and misogyny and hatred. By 5-3, in fact.