Abortion laws and related legal cases continue to be major issues during political campaigns across the country.
On The Daily Circuit, we heard from three prominent voices in the abortion debate. Some highlights:
Elizabeth Nash on new regulations on abortion clinics:
These kinds of regulations are put in place under this masquerade of caring about women's health, but they're all about closing clinics. Abortion is incredibly safe in this country. Less than a third of a percent of abortions result in complications that require hospitalization. It's a very low-risk procedure. Both the Association for Obstetricians and Gynecologists in this country and the World Health Organization have said that your average abortion can be performed in a doctor's office. So the idea of requiring clinics to become mini-hospitals is just out of scale with the safe nature of abortion and really conflicts with the medical evidence we have about how abortion is provided. ... We don't need all of these regulations that are being enacted. They're just overly burdensome and make it impossible to keep doors open. ...
There are two goals of these laws. One is to eliminate the ability of providers to keep doors open without going through these court cases. But the other goal is definitely to get to Roe and to overturn it. And we're seeing this, over time, this cutting away, this erosion, of the rights that were established in Roe. ... Cases that come up to the Supreme Court — and we're looking at potentially a 20-week ban case coming up; the court is looking at an ultrasound case right now — it is very unclear how they would rule, expect to say that it makes abortion-rights activists very nervous.
Paul Linton on waiting periods before abortions:
The abortion procedure is unique among medical procedures because it's the only one where the intention of it is to end the life of a human being. It seems to me that a short reflection period ... is reasonable to give the woman an opportunity to reflect upon the consequence of her decision in light of information that she would have been given at the point where she went to the abortion clinic in the first place. This is when she'd be given information if she wanted it about fetal development, perhaps a sonogram in some states. There'd be different types of information that she'd be given which she might not have been aware of up to that point. And it's reasonable under those circumstances to say, Give this a chance, think about this, reflect upon it, and then make your decision.
Imani Gandy on limits that squeeze access to abortion:
I think the focus among the anti-choice forces has been to restrict abortion to such an extent that it's squeezed out of existence. Whether or not Roe v. Wade provides a right to abortion becomes irrelevant because access to abortion is cut off so greatly that the right to abortion means nothing. You see this in states around the country, most recently specifically in Texas, where a third of the clinics were closed. And they were closed based on a case that doesn't really attack Roe v. Wade directly, but rather stems from a targeted regulation of abortion providers, admitting-privileges laws which require that abortion providers have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where the abortion is performed. Or you have in some states the passing of ambulatory-surgical center requirements, which require abortion clinics to follow certain regulations that don't really have much to do with abortion procedures specifically, but are designed to sort of force clinics to shutter their doors.