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Washington Post, USA Today: TRAP Laws' 'Real Goal' Is To Limit Abortion Access

Washington Post, USA Today: TRAP Laws' 'Real Goal' Is To Limit Abortion Access

October 9, 2014 — Editorials from the Washington Post and USA Today argue that while abortion restrictions are often pushed by abortion-rights opponents as ways to protect women's health, the laws actually make women less safe. Summaries of the pieces appear below.

~ Washington Post: "[T]here is little doubt" that the "rationale driving states' restrictive laws on abortion clinics -- the health of patients -- is a sham," a Post editorial states, arguing that the recent federal appeals court panel ruling on a Texas antiabortion-rights law (HB 2) "is a cautionary tale for other states where abortion rights are under assault." According to the editorial, "The effect of the ruling is that nearly a million women of reproductive age in the Lone Star State now live more than 150 miles from an abortion provider." Further, a "disproportionate number" of those women "live in poor, rural and heavily minority parts of the state, especially the Rio Grande Valley," and many now will "seek abortions, or abortion-inducing drugs, across the border in Mexico," which is likely to pose a "severe threat" to women's health, the Post adds. The editorial states, "The transparent agenda behind [such abortion restrictions] is to gut abortion rights that the Supreme Court extended in Roe v. Wade. That shouldn't be allowed to happen" (Washington Post, 10/8).

~ USA Today: While HB 2 and other laws requiring "that all providers have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital and maintain the same hospital-like standards as ambulatory surgery centers," might "sound reasonable on the surface ... a deeper look reveals the real goal: to make clinics so expensive to run, or standards so hard to attain, that clinics shut down," a USA Today editorial states. The editorial notes that having to travel long distances to the nearest abortion clinic as a result of such restrictions can be "an insurmountable obstacle ... for [women] with low-wage jobs, no paid sick days, child care issues or transportation problems." Further, the editorial states that with "clinics overloaded, more abortions will occur later, when earlier is safer" and that "[w]omen unable to travel might turn to dangerous alternatives." If the Supreme Court justices are asked to rule on the constitutionality of such restrictions, they "ought to recognize that a right burdened by so many unnecessary obstacles ceases at some point to be a right at all," the editorial says (USA Today, 10/8).