It's time to reverse all TRAP laws

With the recent SCOTUS decision overturning HB2 in Texas, it is time to challenge all TRAP laws around the country.

TRAP stands for "Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers" and it is an umbrella term for the hundreds of laws passed in the states that place onerous restrictions on doctors and clinics that offer abortion care. Legislators who propose these laws claim they are to protect women's health, but the Supreme Court found that rationale to be deceptive, and said these laws only serve to limit women's access to abortion.

The recent ruling applies specifically to two provisions in Texas law: that doctors providing abortion must have admitting privileges at local hospitals and that clinics be upgraded to surgical centers. The ruling means that these requirements are no longer allowed in Texas. But what about laws just like these that are already in place in other states?

The Guttmacher Institute published a report on TRAP laws on March 4, 2016. 24 states have TRAP laws. 22 have licensing regulations similar to ambulatory surgical centers. 21 require the clinic to have a relationship with a hospital for admitting purposes during an emergency.

Each of these 24 states must now face legal challenges to overturn these dangerous laws, and it will be up to the courts to strike them down, based upon the precedent established by SCOTUS. The Center for Reproductive Rights, whose attorneys won the Texas case, are moving forward swiftly to challenge state laws. Planned Parenthood has vowed to challenge the laws that have affected their clinics and doctors. 

Locally, Missouri saw several clinics close over the past two decades due to TRAP laws, ultimately leaving only one abortion provider in the whole state: the Planned Parentood clinic in St Louis. Three Missouri legislators are working to overturn the laws through the legislature. Sen. Jill Schupp, Sen. Jamalah Nashid, and Rep. Stacey Newman are filing bills that would rescind the earlier laws that are similar to the Texas laws.

Whether by legislative or judicial means, it is time to reverse these laws that have punished doctors, clinics, and women. SCOTUS is now on our side and we must move swiftly.

To learn more about TRAP laws, and to understand the role of the Hope Clinic for Women in providing for woman harmed by these laws, watch the documentary TRAPPED.