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08.06.14 - Amen, Washington Post. The Post’s editorial board has written a dead-on opinion piece that breaks down the alarming trend of anti-choice legislation that is essentially undermining Roe v. Wade at the state level.
The piece specifically focuses on new legislation in Texas, where lawmakers have passed a number of abortion-related regulations that are decimating providers’ ability to offer safe, accessible abortion care to the women of the state. The editorial notes:
“More than 40 clinics around the state performed the procedure legally and safely when the law took effect a year ago. Today fewer than half of those clinics are still in business in a state where the population has more than doubled over four decades.”
As the editors emphasize (and has been repeated by top medical experts in the country – the American Medical Association and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) these new regulations—which impose expensive, superfluous “safety measures” such as wider hallways and men’s locker rooms—will not actually make abortion any safer than it already is and will do nothing to reduce women’s need for abortion services. The laws will only impede a woman’s ability to access these services, despite her constitutionally guaranteed right to do so.
As the Texas law takes full effect, many more clinics are expected to be forced to shut down, and it is estimated that less than ten clinics will be able to remain open. In poorer, more rural areas such as the Rio Grande Valley, the current closures are already forcing women to travel hundreds of miles to access legal abortion services. For many, factors such as work, cost, lack of transportation, immigration check points, and mandatory waiting periods make this trip an impossibility. As the Post observes, many women will be forced to seek illegal—and possibly unsafe—options closer to their homes.
“Very possibly, some women will die as a result; most of these will be poor,” write the editors. The situation in Texas is dire, and at this point it is only getting worse. The Post piece nails not only the women’s health crisis at hand, but also the constitutional crisis. “In huge swaths of the nation’s second most populous state,” they write, “Roe v. Wade has been effectively undone by the legislature.”