This battle over clinic regulations shifted into high gear in Texas on Monday as state lawmakers moved closer to passing a bill that advocates on both sides say would force all but a handful of the state’s 67 abortion providers to close.
Abortion rights supporters say regulations, many passed in states where Republicans dominate the legislatures, are not-too-subtle efforts to drive clinics out of business and deny women their rights to abortion, even while allowing abortion to remain nominally legal on the books. Techniques include raising treatment standards clinics must meet, blocking relationships with public hospitals and banning online technology that enables abortion doctors to treat patients in remote locations.
“Extremist politicians” made “a blatant attempt to shutter the Red River Women’s Clinic, the sole abortion provider in North Dakota, with a law that would require the clinic’s doctors to unnecessarily have admitting privileges at a local hospital,” said the Center for Reproductive Rights, which is planning to block the law in state court this summer. Pro-choice activists call these measures targeted restriction of abortion providers (TRAP) laws.
Pro-life groups counter that in the wake of the May murder conviction of abortionist Kermit Gosnell — his inner-city Philadelphia “house of horrors” clinic operated for years under lax state rules and oversight — it is imperative that state officials step up their oversight of the abortion industry and leading practitioners such as Planned Parenthood.
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