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Abortion On the Ground


Sarah Kliff has a handy chart detailing the arbitrary abortion regulations passed by each state, many of which are pushing the envelope in the light of the green light they were given by the Supreme Court. Perhaps even more importantly, Clare Malone has an excellent piece on the lack of practical access many American women have to abortion:

But as we mark the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the truth is that access to abortion isn’t anywhere close to equitable for women around the country. In fact, things are worse in certain parts of the U.S. than they were in the 1970s and 1980s. In nearly every state, the total number of abortion providers has dropped since 1978—even in traditionally liberal havens like California, which as of 2008 had 522 abortion providers, down from its peak of 608 in 1988…


But the middle of the country is a different story—states that once stood firmly on the middle ground when it came to abortion access have moved into “hostile” territory on the Guttmacher scale, enacting four or more restrictive provisions since the year 2000 on women seeking abortions. Look at a map of the country that tracks abortion access, and you will see geographical corridors of restriction. Over the past ten years, the Great Plains states have become progressively more antagonistic to abortion-seekers; Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, all of which were on the “middle ground” in 2000, have moved into the “hostile” category; Kansas now has only one abortion provider per 100,000 people. The Deep South has shifted over the past decade as well—Florida, a state of almost 19 million in 2010 had only 5 abortion providers per 100,000 people, down from 12 in 1980.

Of the varieties of abortion regulations states might pass post-Casey, the ones that make it difficult for clinics to operate are the most dangerous. And it must be noted as well that anti-abortion terrorism has been very effective in a lot of states.

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  • JMP

    But you can’t call the anti-abortion violent political extremists who kill doctors and blow up clinics terrorists, because you see, those are white Christians; according to our modern media only brown Muslims can be called terrorists.

  • Abortion On the Ground

    Sounds unsanitary.

    Also, their indifference to suffering is shown by the fact that the anti-choicers (both in and out of state legislatures) target as “abortion clinics” medical facilities where the majority of services are non-abortion healthcare for women, pregnant and not. Shorter me: the antis are scum.

  • Watusie

    And here is a list of all the restrictions that the “pro-life” movement has secured on the creation and destruction of surplus lives at IVF clinics:
    { }
    Yep, that is it.

    If you believe life begins at the moment of conception and therefore abortion is murder, then the fertility industry commits torture and murder for profit.

    And yet, crickets.

    • DrDick

      Consistency is only for foolish liberals.

  • Sebastian H

    You’re quoting the Guttmacher regular abortion providers statistic, right? That’s the one typically used to say X counties don’t even have one abortion provider, etc. That counts only providers that perform 400+ abortions per year.

    Isn’t this post suggestive of the idea that the top down, Supreme Court strategy isn’t working? Also isn’t it largely a reversion toward actual public opinion on abortion. (That it should be freely available in the first trimester, sharply limited in the second (especially the latter half of the second) and almost banned in the third?

    And no, that isn’t Roe. Roe is not friendly to second trimester restrictions. Even in the fifth or six month.

    • sharculese

      Because state legislatures are never significantly to the right of normal people…

    • Malaclypse

      Actual public opinion on abortion is “mine/my wife’s/my daughter’s/etc abortion is for a good reason and should be allowed, unlike those people’s abortions.”

    • ema

      That counts only providers that perform 400+ abortions per year.

      Any evidence for your claim?

      According to Guttmacher‘s (Eighty-seven percent of all U.S. counties lacked an abortion provider in 2008; 35% of women live in those counties.[2]) source (emphasis mine):

      METHODS: In 2009 and 2010, all facilities known or expected to have provided abortion services in 2007 and 2008 were contacted, including hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices. Data on the number of abortions performed were collected….

      RESULTS:…In both years, 35% of women of reproductive age lived in the 87% of counties that lacked a provider….

      No mention in the (abstract’s) methodology/results of the exclusion criterion you asserted.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Supreme Court strategy isn’t working?

      Compared to what? If Roe is overruled, this would just mean many states would go from having an insufficient number of abortion providers to none. This also assumes a zero-sum relationship between litigation and other forms of activism that doesn’t exist. Pro-choice groups are much better mobilized than a lot of progressive interests (such as labor) who don’t win at the Supreme Court level.

    • Joe

      Roe is not friendly to second trimester restrictions. Even in the fifth or six month.

      If the restrictions are actual health requirements, Roe allows it. If not, like needless waiting periods, biased tracts, vaginal probes and TRAP laws, less friendly. In fact, the last is the major problem — neutral laws that regulate medical procedures can be passed left and right. The desire however is to selectively target abortion. Viability is currently around the sixth month & Roe allows a buffer zone. So the last point is also overblown.

      We live under Casey now anyhow.

  • DrDick

    Come on now! All right thinking people know that abortion properly belongs underground, where it is unregulated and only available to the affluent and influential.

  • Anna in PDX

    Well, three cheers for Oregon.

  • wengler

    There are some simple solutions. Every OB-GYN must be able and willing to perform at least some abortion procedures, and no hospitals may restrict abortion procedures.

    But since it’s America, we don’t require doctors to do things even in their fields, and we constantly bend over backwards to accommodate people ‘of faith’.

  • It’s incredibly depressing. Especially in light of the fact that most Americans have little interest in overturning Roe.

    I do, though, think it may be time to address the idea that conservatives have actually been pretty good at making abortion into something only dumb/irresponsible/murderous whores do. I’m not surprised so many people refer to themselves as “pro-life,” even though it’s an inane label. No one wants to be a dumb, slutty murderess.

    • Joe

      They also are not overly concerned with focusing their energy against chipping away at it, repeatedly finding themselves sympathetic to the chipping. Many also aren’t gung ho about actually protecting the right in practice. They feel conflicted about it and as long as it it technically legal, they rather not think about it.

  • J R in W. Va.

    Now, now,

    Extremeism in the defense of the unborn, not yet living, incapable of sustaining life even in a neo-natal ICU, fetus, is not extreme at all.

    A few explosions, some gunshots, all in defense of the principle that potential life is more important than a mother’s ability to stay alive or maintain her ability to reproduce, is insignificant.


    Vote Santorum for President for a free America!!

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