The Economist Examines Effects of State TRAP Laws

September 10, 2012 — Although Roe v. Wade prevents states from banning abortion outright, antiabortion lawmakers have cut access to the procedure by working "to shut down abortion clinics by piling on regulations," The Economist reports.

Supporters of the laws maintain that the regulations protect the health and safety of abortion patients. However, abortion-rights advocates say the provisions, known as TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws, are really meant to force abortion providers out of business by making it impossible for them to practice. They argue that the regulations, such as a requirement in Virginia about the width of hallways, have nothing to do with making abortion safer.

The Economist reports that "occasionally the masks slip" and state officials state openly that their aim is to end abortion. For example, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) has said he wants Mississippi to be an "abortion-free" state. When signing a Mississippi bill (HB 1390) into law that requires doctors who provide abortion services to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, he referenced the state's only remaining abortion clinic, saying, "If it closes that clinic, so be it."

So far, the clinic has been unable to comply with the law's requirements (The Economist, 9/8).