Jan. 22 will mark the 44th anniversary of the passage of Roe v. Wade. It is anticipated that a newly inaugurated President Donald Trump will reauthorize the policy banning USAID dollars from going to foreign countries that permit abortion as a part of family planning services as Republican presidents have done on the anniversary of Roe after inauguration day. This is appropriate as voting patterns show Americans moving away from the idea of abortion as birth control.
Nationally, Republicans control legislatures in 32 states, while Democrats control both chambers in only five states: Hawaii, Oregon, Rhode Island, Delaware and California. This is a result of the GOP gaining nearly 1,000 seats in state legislatures during President Obama’s presidency, leaving Democrats with control of only 42 percent of the legislative seats in the nation.
Over the past eight years Republicans at the state level have sought to make legal abortion safer for women by enacting a series of reforms that ensure doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges to a local hospital near the clinic and that the clinics themselves are adequately equipped to handle emergencies. Laws passed in several states, including Missouri, required that the clinics meet the same standards as ambulatory care clinics.
What does that mean exactly? Clinics would have yearly safety inspections and be subject to unannounced safety inspections. They could be fined or sanctioned for noncompliance. Doctors would have to maintain admitting privileges to a hospital within 30 miles of their facility. Clinics would be required to have all entrances and hallways sized to accommodate emergency equipment. The presence of a registered nurse would be required at the facility. The clinic would need to follow infectious disease control protocols and employ equipment sterilization measures. Most of these basic, common sense rules are required for every laser eye surgery center, yet, if Missouri’s law is overturned, would not be required for clinics performing the far more invasive surgery of abortion.
Instead of endeavoring to make their clinics safer, Planned Parenthood has opted to close clinics that do not comply and sued to reopen them without making them safer. The safety laws implemented in Texas were taken all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States and struck down when Justice Anthony Kennedy sided with liberal justices. It seems that the Democrats’ mantra of “safe, legal and rare” is in name only.
Now, Planned Parenthood of Missouri has filed a similar lawsuit alleging that the safety laws are so restrictive that few providers can meet them. This is ridiculous. Make the clinics safe by adhering to the laws instead of suing to get out of them.
According to St. Louis Fire Department records of 911 calls between 2009 and 2016, Planned Parenthood of St. Louis summoned emergency services 58 times to transport patients to the hospital because of complications that could not be handled at their clinic.
The laws are needed to ensure the safety of women who choose to have an abortion.
The abortion rate is down over 40 percent since 1980, which is excellent news. Black women account for 6 percent of the total population yet 35 percent of total yearly abortions — more abortions than any other demographic group. Planned Parenthood locates 78 percent of the organization’s clinics in the inner cities of America, which amounts to targeting minority women for Planned Parenthood services.
Hollywood star Nick Cannon recently came out in opposition to abortion, saying of Hillary Clinton and her supporters, “Think about all of the things they did with Planned Parenthood and all of that type of stuff. That type of stuff is to take our community — and forget gentrification — it’s real genocide, and it’s been like that for years. This system is not built for us.” Cannon elaborates on the topic because his mother considered aborting him.
As lawsuits are filed and Cosmo magazine does puff pieces on the executive director of NARAL in Missouri, Missourians must consider whether Planned Parenthood actually cares for the safety of women who choose to have an abortion, or if their primary concern is keeping their activities free from the eyes of inspectors who want to keep women safe.