Around the Blogosphere

May 6, 2016


"Yes, blue state abortion clinics are closing, but the reason isn't so simple," Robin Marty, Care2: Marty discusses a recent FiveThirtyEight article by Madeline Schwartz that "took a detailed and data-driven look at abortion clinic closures" and found that abortion clinics face challenges staying open even in states that are considered 'friendly' toward abortion rights. However, Marty notes that "this isn't a case of red versus blue states, but the consolidation of abortion access into urban areas that can sustain patient loads -- regardless of which state these areas are found in." Marty writes that Schwartz's analysis "veers somewhat off course" in its classification of "what exactly comprises" a state 'friendly' to abortion rights. For example, citing the case of New Jersey, Marty writes that "an anti-abortion administration can have as much effect on the culture of a state as [Legislature-approved] restrictions do, especially when ... New Jersey providers still are unable to perform second trimester procedures without expensive building upgrades." According to Marty, "[I]t is economic factors that are closing most clinics -- either because ... states have passed regulations that increase the cost of running a clinic or building a new clinic, or because [providers] have been ... balancing their low fees and customer loads to try to keep their doors open." She continues, "As a result, the pattern of clinic closures really ... [is] an urban versus rural one." To demonstrate this, Marty cites the Bloomberg data that Schwartz analyzed. She writes, "Whether a state is ... hostile to or accepting of abortion rights ... the clinics that are closing tend to be those outside of big metro areas, or those in metro areas where there are many other clinics to compete with, as opposed to clinics operating singly or in a small number in big cities." Marty notes that while it is alarming that clinics in states considered 'friendly' to abortion rights are closing, "what is more alarming and is lost in the analysis is that abortion access is dwindling regardless of the landscape of a state, as clinics disappear and consolidate." She concludes, "The accessibility of obtaining an abortion is increasingly less reliant on how many clinics are open, and more upon which cities have the providers, how long it takes to travel there, and how many hours or days a patient must wait both to get an appointment or, even worse, to make separate trips due to [mandatory delays]. It is the consolidation of abortion services that matters far more" (Marty, Care2, 5/4).

What others are saying about abortion restrictions:

~ "The latest anti-abortion bills double as devilishly good P.R.," Nora Caplan-Bricker, Slate's "XX Factor."

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