5 States With Abortion Laws Similar To The One SCOTUS Struck Down
Monday marked a positive shift in the tide of women’s reproductive rights in America, as the Supreme Court ruled against the Texas HB2 abortion law. Given the horribly regressive year we’ve had in terms of reproductive rights, this is a bastion of light in a dark women-hating world. The SCOTUS ruling wasn’t just a victory for Texas either — it has major implications for states with abortion laws similar to HB2 that are now in jeopardy.
You may be wondering — what exactly was struck down and how did it limit access to safe abortion? The Texas HB2 law fell under the umbrella of TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Clinics), and this particular measure required that clinics providing abortion services meet all the same building standards as walk-in surgical facilities and also have admitting rights at a nearby hospital. Given the fact that many Texas hospitals deny admitting rights to doctors performing abortions to appease the large conservative population, this caused nearly 30 of the 42 clinics in the state to shut down, and the further allowance of these requirements could have rendered legal abortion in Texas completely impossible.
The bill was voted down 5-3, with Justice Stephen Breyer writing in a brief: “We conclude that neither of these provisions offers medical benefits sufficient to justify the burdens upon access that each imposes. Each places a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a pre-viability abortion, each constitutes an undue burden on abortion access, and each violates the Federal Constitution.”
Sadly and unsurprisingly, Texas is not alone in its backwards and restrictive TRAP laws. Many other states have implemented laws just like HB2, which have closed down clinics and made it equally difficult to access abortion. Here are five of the worst offenders.
Louisiana has been one of the regressive pioneers of restrictive abortion laws. The current laws not only require abortion clinics have the same structural standards as surgical centers and force providers to have admittance privileges, but they also specify that the hospital lending admittance privileges must be within 30 miles of the clinic. Luckily, this law is still pending in court and there’s a good chance the Texas decision foreshadows what will go down in Louisiana.
In keeping with the awful trend of Texas and Louisiana, Oklahoma also requires that abortion clinics meet the standards of surgical centers and that doctors have admittance privileges at hospitals. The state even mandates that minors get parental consent for abortions and forces women to undergo counseling explaining the “pros and cons” of their abortion and then wait 24 more hours before their procedure. Oklahoma has had many more outlandish laws already overturned, including one that would jail abortion doctors and another requiring women to listen to ultrasounds before having an abortion.
Don’t be fooled by the endearing Midwest vibes, Wisconsin also harbors ridiculous abortion laws. While Wisconsin luckily doesn’t require abortion clinics to have the same structural standards as surgical centers, they do require doctors to have admission rights at a nearby hospital and the bullshit “counseling” and 24-hour waiting period for an abortion — because grown women need more things explained to them.
Unfortunately living up to its stereotype of bleak conservatism, Alabama’s abortion laws are some of the worst in the country. The laws in Alabama not only require that abortion clinics match the standards of surgical centers, but they even specify the width of the corridors. Doctors must have admission permission at a nearby hospital and minors are required to provide parental consent or they may be arrested. Also, women must go to counseling and adhere to a 48-hour waiting period before abortions, and the Affordable Care Act or any government-funded insurance only covers abortions in the case of rape, incest, or illness.
While Texas may sound bad with its clinic number under 15, Mississippi takes the cake with only one abortion clinic currently open. Their insane requirements make clinics adhere to the standards of surgical centers, specify the corridor width and the room sizes, and make doctors have hospital privileges for a hospital within 30 minutes of the clinic. Providers must not only be a licensed MD, but also receive the “prior advice” of two other licensed doctors before performing the procedure. Women under 18 must receive permission from BOTH parents, and women of age must undergo the 24-hour wait and counseling. State-covered health insurance only helps with costs if the abortion is necessary to preserve the mother’s life or the pregnancy is a result of rape. Basically, it’s an impossible hellscape.
Sadly, these are just five of many states with restrictive abortion laws — four states aside from Texas have laws mandating admitting privileges in effect and 22 states currently force clinics to meet the same standards as surgical centers. But there is definite hope in the SCOTUS ruling today, and it’s crucial that we celebrate the decision while pushing for more progress.