The NY Times editorial board takes on Republican TRAP laws designed for one purpose: to make legal abortions impossible to get for as many women as possible. 2015 was a banner year for TRAP legislation, and the only thing preventing national versions of these ridiculous laws was a Democrat in the White House (which may not be the case in 2017.)
In many states, including Texas, these laws have resulted in the shuttering of all but a few clinics that perform abortions, forcing women to travel hundreds of miles for the procedure. Among other burdens, this increases the chance that a woman will try to end her pregnancy on her own. This is extremely risky, and in some states it is even grounds for a charge of attempted murder. One study, based on a recent survey, estimated that 100,000 to 240,000 Texas women ages 18 to 49 have attempted a self-induced abortion without medical assistance. These women, the study found, were significantly more likely than average to have less access to basic reproductive-health services like birth control.
TRAP laws are the only ones currently before the Supreme Court, but they are far from the only roadblock to reproductive health care put up in 2015.
Just a few examples: Five states enacted or extended waiting periods for abortions, joining the more than two dozen states that already had such laws. Some of these laws also require a woman to undergo in-person counseling, which means two separate trips to a clinic or hospital. Two states, Arizona and Arkansas, passed laws requiring doctors to give women misleading information about the possibility of “reversing” a medication-induced abortion. Arkansas also became the third state to ban the use of the modern, evidence-based drug protocol for medication abortion, which is cheaper and more effective than what the Food and Drug Administration approved in 2000.
And then there is the unrelenting, but politically unpopular, campaign by Republicans in Congress, in statehouses and on the presidential campaign trail to deny funding to Planned Parenthood. The organization, which is the only reproductive-health service provider for millions of poorer women, is already prohibited by law from using federal funds for almost all abortions.
We're one election away from the outlawing of legal and safe medical abortions across the country, period. Either the GOP will impose a national ban, or a Republican president will appoint enough conservatives to make it happen.