NYT Editorial: Blocking Abortion Access is Real Aim of State Laws

May 12, 2014 — "[I]n state after state, with the enthusiastic support of Republican lawmakers, it has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for women to get safe and legal abortion care," a New York Times editorial states.

Although antiabortion-rights groups have "piously declared that all they wanted to do was to make women safer," such arguments have "little credibility" as clinics are facing closure under new regulations.

According to the editorial, this "emerging reality was driven home late last month" when a three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals "heard arguments in a constitutional challenge to a Mississippi law [HB 1390] requiring doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital." If the court upholds the law, the state's only abortion clinic will be forced to close because its physicians "have been unable to secure admitting privileges at any nearby hospital -- hardly surprising given the local political atmosphere." The clinic's closure would make Mississippi "the first state without an abortion clinic since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973," the editorial states.

Similarly, Alabama, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin are coming close to passing legislation or have measures under court review that also would "requir[e] affiliation with local hospitals." According to the editorial, "there are few abortion clinics left in those states, so closing even one more would significantly diminish capacity."

The editorial concludes, "Time is running out to stop this spreading peril" (New York Times, 5/10).