By: Elissa Graves
The United States Supreme Court will hear a challenge March 2nd to a 2013 Texas law, which requires abortion clinics to maintain basic health and safety standards at surgical centers, obtain admitting privileges to nearby hospitals, and that bans abortion at 20 weeks. Those challenging the law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt say that it violates a woman’s “constitutional right” to abortion. As House Bill 2 (HB2) heads to the high court, let’s bust some of the myths promoted by the abortion lobby in their effort to defeat this important and common sense law.
PRO-ABORTION MYTH: Texas is placing an undue burden on a woman’s ability to obtain an abortion.
FACT: Planned Parenthood regularly and voluntarily closes down its own clinics where there is no law “forcing” them to do so, resulting in the same alleged “burden.”
The frequent refrain of the abortion movement goes something like this: women will be forced to travel long distances to get an abortion, and therefore they won’t be able to get one. It is true that HB2 has resulted in fewer abortion clinics in the Lone Star State. But that is only because abortion clinics would rather put women at risk than adhere to the standards required by the law. But Planned Parenthood and others are constantly shutting down clinics where no law exists that “forces” them to do so. Even in some blue states where abortion is the least restricted—such as California, New York, and Oregon— there are enormous drive times from some parts of the state to abortion clinics. But somehow, Planned Parenthood hasn’t felt the need to locate clinics there for “access” for these women who are being “burdened.” In Iowa, Planned Parenthood recently closed a clinic, and now women will be forced to drive 70 miles to the nearest abortion clinic. This is exactly the same “undue burden” that they are complaining about in Texas. Where’s the outrage?
PRO-ABORTION MYTH: The Texas law has nothing to do with women’s safety.
FACT: HB2 requires abortion facilities to maintain basic standards of surgical care.
HB2 requires that abortion clinics operate as ambulatory surgical centers and that their doctors maintain admitting privileges at local hospitals. The pro-abortion lobby repeatedly argues that these requirements have absolutely nothing to do with protecting the health and safety of women. But the facts tell a different story. Time after time, abortion facilities not operating as ambulatory surgical centers have caused the death of or serious injury to women, due to hallways being too small to fit a gurney, a locked emergency door, or defective medical equipment. Such devastation would be completely preventable if abortion clinics operated as surgical facilities, as the law requires.
And outside of the abortion context, federal law already requires "ambulatory surgery centers" participating in Medicare to ensure that any physician performing surgery has admitting privileges at a local hospital or to enter into written transfer agreements with such hospitals. This requirement—outlined in the Federal Register at 47 Fed. Reg. 34082—“ensure[s] that patients have immediate access to needed emergency or medical treatment in a hospital.” This makes clear that admitting privileges help protect the safety of patients following surgery. Abortion is a surgical procedure. Even the most ardent pro-abortion advocate cannot disagree with that. Don’t we want to protect the safety of women during—and after—surgery?
PRO-ABORTION MYTH: Abortion is necessary for women to be equal members of society.
FACT: Abortion demeans women.
The pro-abortion crowd insists that women cannot have equality without abortion. Amicus briefs submitted supporting the challengers of HB2 argued this exact point. They are essentially arguing: women need abortion so that they can live wombless if they so choose. That means the standard of “equality” is that of a being identical to men. This thinking is inherently backwards, and actually supports the suppression of women in society. As one pro-life feminist recently wrote: “Abortion betrays women by having us believe that we must become like men — that is, not pregnant — to achieve parity with them, professionally, socially, educationally.” Women can only truly be equal when they are permitted to act as women—which includes their ability to bear children—and not only as they are measured against men.
The myths from the pro-abortion side of this landmark Supreme Court case are nothing but smoke and mirrors meant to hide the ugly truth about abortion. HB2 is a common sense regulation intended to ensure greater protection and the health and safety of women by making abortionists follow the same standards as everyone else. Don’t believe the pro-abortion lobby when it says that abortion businesses should get a free pass to threaten women’s health and safety.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court is hearing arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case that could overturn Roe and return the issue of abortion to the states.