Crossposted from

On Wednesday a bunch of nuisances with way too much time on their hands and a burning desire to meddle in your personal life on behalf of Jesus will descend upon the Arizona State Capitol.


cap day

Sounds like a barrel of laughs but I’ll pass. This event coincides with a Senate Health and Human Services Committee hearing where they will be voting on SB1318, which is yet another attempt to restrict abortion under the guise of “safety”. The bill requires all doctors performing abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.

Like all other TRAP laws, admitting privileges are a complete crock of crap, as Imani Gandy explains in RH Reality Check:

At first blush, these laws may seem sensible enough, especially if you believe that abortion is a dangerous procedure and providers should have hospital admitting privileges in case something goes horribly awry. Such is the concern of anti-choicers pushing for the Wisconsin law, as Susan Armacost, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life, noted in a July 5 statement. “Apparently, Wisconsin’s abortion clinics don’t believe their abortionists need to have hospital privileges at a hospital located within 30 miles of their clinic … or anywhere at all,” she said. “Currently, when a woman experiences hemorrhaging or other life-threatening complications after an abortion in Wisconsin, the clinic puts her in an ambulance and sends her to a hospital ALONE where she is left to her own devices to explain her medical issues to the emergency room staff. The abortionist who performed the abortion is nowhere to be seen. This deplorable situation must change.”

But documents submitted to the federal court in Wisconsin overseeing the case paint a very different picture of the admitting privileges law. According to Dr. Douglas Laube, a board-certified OB-GYN since 1976, the admitting privileges requirement is “medically unjustified and will have serious consequences for women’s health in Wisconsin.”

As Dr. Laube explained to the court, abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States, alarmist claims to the contrary notwithstanding.

Note how the anti-choicer uses alarmist and emotionally-charged language but has no real argument to substantiate the need for admitting privileges. If a patient getting any type of treatment at a clinic – be it abortion, colonoscopy, root canal, whatever – goes into a life-threatening medical emergency an ambulance is going to be called and they will be taken to the nearest emergency room. Whether or not the doctor at the clinic has admitting privileges is utterly irrelevant. And EMTs and hospital staff are trained to recognize symptoms and stabilize and treat patients so this notion of a poor damsel in distress being left alone (ALONE!) to deal with her medical emergency is both absurd and insulting.

The obvious aim of this bill is to drive abortion clinics out of business since it’s very difficult for abortion doctors to get the admitting privileges because hospitals fear all the harassment they’ll get from (guess who?) anti-choicers. So the effect of this, should it go into law, will be to make abortion a far more unsafe proposition for a large number of women who will be forced into seeking abortion care on the illegal black market. Even if, unlike me, you want to take the most charitable view possible of the motives of anti-choicers with these TRAP laws and assume they are acting out of a good faith desire to protect women, you have to admit that their efforts have been a spectacular failure at making abortion safer.

Here’s a neat little thing about abortion law in Arizona that you may be unaware of: It has an exception written into it that just so happens to make it so that some affluent ladies are able to have their “procedures” done by their private physicians with no one bothering them.

2. “Abortion clinic” means a facility, other than a hospital, in which five or more first trimester abortions in any month or any second or third trimester abortions are performed.

So if a general practitioner or gynecologist with a posh office in Scottsdale keeps it to five or fewer abortions a month s/he can provide them to patients without going through most of the rigamarole placed on the clinics that serve non-wealthy women. Nice, huh? Gotta hand it to right wingers. They sure are good at exempting themselves from the pain they want to dish out to others.

The other thing the bill does is ban insurance coverage for abortion from women using the federal ACA exchange by changing the language of the existing law that only pertains to state run plan to any health care exchange operating in the state. Neat how they didn’t want to set up a state exchange under the ACA but now they want to tell the federal one what it can do (and it already doesn’t use federal funds to cover abortion because compromise had to be made with anti-choice Dems to get the ACA passed). It’s unlikely antis are even going to pretend this is about “safety” so I’m guessing they’re going with the argument that godly virtuous Americans should not have to subsidize women getting the dirty slut operations. Even if said women are paying 100% of the costs of the premiums for their insurance themselves*.

Because abortions can run from a few hundred to several thousand dollars, blocking coverage in insurance can put a huge financial strain on women, leading some of them to delay their procedures or resort to unsafe, illegal methods. Kermit Gosnell’s horror show clinic, which antis constantly throw in everyone’s faces as the consummate example of why legal abortion is so terribly unsafe and needs to be strictly regulated (by them) was in large part the result of anti-abortion policies (such as bans on government funding and insurance coverage) that have made it difficult for women to get safe first trimester abortions. Never forget that if anti-choicers get their way, there will be more Kermit Gosnells, not fewer. These are seriously not the people who should ever be put in charge of the safety of abortion yet, they are, and none but a few lonely pro-choice voices are calling attention to this alarming situation.

*You would not believe how often I encounter anti-choicers who seem to be mystified by the concept that women who use contraception and get abortions work and pay taxes and insurance premiums just like everyone else and are not lying around waiting for other people to “pay for” those things. We really just want what we are already working and paying for, thanks.