Abortion Clinics Closing at Record Pace, State Republicans Credited

The clinic business sign displays the word closed on the front of the business during a press conference and clinic tour at what used to be Central Women's Services on Thursday, July 13, 2006 in Wichita, Kan.
AP/Larry W. Smith

Abortion clinics are closing at a record pace and pro-abortion reporters are taking notice.

Reporter Esme Deprez of Bloomberg News raises the alarm, “Abortion access in the U.S. has been vanishing at the fastest annual pace on record, propelled by Republican state lawmakers’ push to legislate the industry out of existence. Since 2011, at least 162 abortion providers have shut or stopped offering the procedure, while just 21 opened.”

Deprez claims “The drop-off in providers” is “more than one every two weeks.” Texas lost 30 clinics, Iowa lost 14, Michigan lost 13 since 2011. Deprez reports that “California’s loss of a dozen providers shows how availability declines, even in states led by Democrats, who tend to be friendly to abortion rights.”

Pro-life advocates have long-targeted the places where unborn children are killed and those who do the killing. For years religious pro-lifers have staked out clinics for prayer campaigns and street counseling that has resulted in thousands of women turned away from abortion and their children saved.

While the sidewalk tactic is alive and well in the pro-life movement, a newer approach is through state legislatures that have turned solidly conservative in the Obama years. Deprez and others lay the blame at the feet of state lawmakers who in recent years have been regulating abortion clinics and these clinics have chosen to close rather than adhere to the new regulatory environment.

Lawmakers insist that if they cannot stop abortion, at least they can make the abortion experience safer for women. Abortionists tend to be further down the medical food-chain that regular doctors, which means women can be at risk when they lay down for an abortion.

One of the offending state laws is the requirement that abortionists get admitting privileges at the local hospital. Admitting privileges are fairly easy to get and the fact that this is a reason abortion clinics are closing speaks volumes about the professional standing of most abortionists.

State laws are also requiring that abortion clinics meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers, which are same-day surgical centers that carry out operations like arthroscopic surgery, gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopedics, podiatry, urology and others. Regulations of such centers require wide hallways for gurneys to pass. Deprez reports that a record number of clinics are refusing to meet the standards either because they can’t or won’t.

The Guttmacher Institute, once the research arm of abortion giant Planned Parenthood, reports the high-water mark for abortion clinics was 705 in the late 1980s. The last year Guttmacher took a look was 2011 and the number of clinics had declined to 553.

The Supreme Court Casey decision that underscored a right to abortion also allowed for regulations provided an “undue burden” was not placed on the woman seeking an abortion. The undue burden argument is precisely that being made in Federal Courts and now at the Supreme Court by abortion providers who say the closing of clinics is placing such an undue burden.

Deprez wrote a nearly identical story at Bloomberg Businessweek in 2013.


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