2013 was an epic year of right-wing media misinforming the public on the health care debate, particularly on women's health issues. Ignoring women's health experts, conservative media spent this year stoking fears about everything from birth control to maternity care, ignoring science, distorting state and federal regulations, and demonizing women's health care options in the process. These are the top six scare tactics from 2013.
6. They Tried To Tie Kermit Gosnell's Horrific Murders To Safe, Legal Abortion
Wash. Post's Jennifer Rubin: "Gosnell Verdict Will Force A Rethinking About Abortion." Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin suggested in her Right Turn blog that the "implications" for legal abortion in the wake of the Gosnell case were "unavoidable." She added:
In pulling back the curtain on a practice many Americans consider barbaric, the Gosnell trial will, I believe, have long-term implications for the abortion debate. It's about time. [The Washington Post, Right Turn, 5/13/13]
Fox's Kimberly Guilfoyle: You Can't Listen To This "And Not Rethink Abortion." On May 13, The Five co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle said that the Gosnell case would force people to "rethink abortion":
BOB BECKEL (co-host): Do you think this reignites the issue of right to life versus abortion as a public policy issue?
GUILFOYLE: Bob, great question. I think it does. It puts a spotlight on it. It brings it into the forefront of discussion and especially the media outlets that were brave enough to cover it like Fox News has been. Because you can't have sat in that courtroom, heard the evidence, listened to this and what happened to these babies and not rethink abortion and choice and all of it. [Fox News, The Five, 5/13/13, via Media Matters]
National Review Online Used Illegal Abortions To Hype Unconstitutional Abortion Ban. A June 11 National Review Online editorial used the murder conviction of Kermit Gosnell to push for an abortion ban it acknowledged to be unconstitutional that would outlaw all abortions after 20 weeks, even in cases when the health of the mother is at risk. [National Review Online, 6/11/13, via Media Matters]
FACT: Gosnell's Crimes Bear No Resemblance To Legal Women's Health Services
RH Reality Check: "Abortion In The United States Is Highly Regulated And Overwhelmingly Safe." RH Reality Check, a women's reproductive rights organization, reviewed letters to Congress from 38 state attorneys general and 31 health departments and found that they provide the "most comprehensive picture to date of the reality of abortion services," confirming that "abortion in the United States is highly regulated and overwhelmingly safe":
An analysis of these documents shows that congressional Republicans will find no support for their arguments in favor of new restrictions on abortion care in the evidence presented by the states. In particular, to the extent that anti-choice advocates claim that women are being put at risk by abortion services, these documents--from the very state entities charged with overseeing and regulating abortion--show the contrary. They show that abortion in the United States is highly regulated and overwhelmingly safe. [RH Reality Check via Media Matters, 8/21/13]
National Abortion Federation: Gosnell's Facility "Was Not Even Close To Meeting NAF's Quality Standards." National Abortion Federation, an organization of abortion providers, released a statement regarding Kermit Gosnell's crimes, saying,
Despite Gosnell's best efforts to alter his practices, clean up the facility, and hire licensed personnel for our site visit, his facility was not even close to meeting NAF's quality standards. We therefore rejected his application for membership. [The Atlantic, 4/17/13]
5. They Equated The Morning-After Pill With Abortion
Rush Limbaugh Hyped Myth That Morning-After Pill Is Abortion. On the November 25 edition of his radio program, Rush Limbaugh overlooked the mechanics of the morning-after pill to liken it to an abortion drug, ignoring that Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy and must be taken within five days of intercourse to be effective. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/25/13, via Media Matters]
Drudge Report: "Obama Allows Morning-After Abortion Pill For Under-17s." A June 11 Drudge Report tweet claimed that Plan B was a "morning-after abortion pill":
Wash. Times: Judge Authorized Over-The-Counter Sales Of "The Plan B Morning-After Abortion Pill." A Washington Times editorial featured the sub-headline: "Pssst! A government pusher's got abortion pills for children," and led with the claim that Plan B is an abortion pill:
The Justice Department decided Wednesday to appeal a federal judge's order authorizing over-the-counter sales of the Plan B morning-after abortion pill without any age restrictions. [The Washington Times, 5/3/13]
Fox Guest Richard St. Paul Referred To Plan B As "The Abortion Pill." On the November 27 edition of Fox News' Happening Now, Republican strategist Richard St. Paul argued that Hobby Lobby should not have to pay for "the abortion pill":
ST. PAUL: I think the Supreme Court will come down and say that what Hobby Lobby and their family foundation of believing in religious freedom, does have a right not to promote abortion among its employees. Basically what we are talking about whether Hobby Lobby should support, under Obamacare, the Plan B morning-after pill -- whether they should pay for that. Hobby Lobby says we will provide contraceptives but we're not going to pay for the abortion pill, which I think they are right in line. [Fox News, Happening Now, 11/27/13]
Fox's Childers And Guest Jay Sekulow Referred To Plan B As An Abortion Pill. On the November 27 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, guest host Heather Childers and guest Jay Sekulow referred to Plan B pill as an abortifacient:
SEKULOW: [W]ith morning-after pill, which many consider to be abortifacient, in that case, the idea that the government would compel the business employer to purchase that for their employees, we think goes too far and violates the First Amendment's free exercise clause.
CHILDERS: And that's where the argument, there is some discrepancies between both sides. Because if you take the beginning of the statement from the White House that we just read, the first part of it said that the health care law puts women and families in control of their health care by covering vital preventative care, like cancer screenings and birth control free of charge. But that's where you know some organizations, some groups, these specifically, Hobby Lobby being one of them and some of yours, they would argue that this does not just include preventative care and birth control, they would argue this would also include some procedures that are basically abortion.
SEKULOW: Yeah, well -- because it does. I mean the health care law mandates these despite the president's protests to contrary. The regulatory scheme that was implemented by HHS actually does include those very things you just mentioned. And if you take a look at Hobby Lobby's situation where they've got thousands of employees throughout the United States, a very successful company, the idea that the government is telling the owners of Hobby Lobby, "look you surrender your right to free exercise of religion, your faith, when you enter into commerce stream as a business. And you must acquire for your employees something that violates what you believe in, that's ridiculous! The Supreme Court has said that the right of freedom of speech does apply to corporations, the question here will be is does the free exercise of religion apply to corporations. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 11/27/13]
FACT: Scientific Evidence Shows That Plan B Cannot Stop Pregnancy After Fertilization Takes Place
NY Times: Emergency Contraceptives Work To Prevent Ovulation, Not Implantation. As The New York Times reported, emergency contraception works to preempt pregnancy. By delaying ovulation, Plan B stops an egg from being released for fertilization. Some emergency contraceptives may also work to thicken cervical mucus to make it more difficult for sperm to swim. Plan B does not stop implantation after fertilization has occurred [emphasis added]:
Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say. Rather, the pills delay ovulation, the release of eggs from ovaries that occurs before eggs are fertilized, and some pills also thicken cervical mucus so sperm have trouble swimming.
By 2007, scientific consensus was building that morning-after pills did not block implantation. In one study using fertilized eggs that would have been discarded from fertility clinics, Dr. Gemzell-Danielsson found that adding Plan B in a dish did not prevent them from attaching to cells that line the uterus.
Later, in 2007, 2009 and 2010, researchers in Australia and Chile gave Plan B to women after determining with hormone tests which women had ovulated and which had not.
None who took the drug before ovulation became pregnant, underscoring how Plan B delays ovulation. Women who had ovulated became pregnant at the same rate as if they had taken no drug at all. In those cases, there were no difficulties with implantation, said one of the researchers, Gabriela Noé, at the Instituto Chileno de Medicina Reproductiva in Santiago. Dr. Blithe of the N.I.H., said, "No one can say that it works to inhibit implantation based on these data." [The New York Times, 6/5/12]
NY Times: Claims That Emergency Contraceptive Pills Cause Abortion "Do Not Reflect What The Science Shows." The New York Times reported that federally approved product labels and some medical websites have suggested that emergency contraception pills can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, leading conservative politicians and religious activists to equate the pills with abortifacients. According to the Times, this claim was likely "rooted in outdated or incorrect scientific guesses about how the pills work," and has since been debunked by numerous medical studies. The newspaper also reported that, "[An] examination by The New York Times has found that the federally approved labels and medical Web sites do not reflect what the science shows." [The New York Times, 6/5/12]
International Federation Of Gynecology & Obstetrics: Emergency Contraceptives "Unable To Prevent Implantation." A 2012 statement by the International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics explained:
Two studies have estimated effectiveness of [emergency contraceptive pills] by confirming the cycle day by hormonal analysis (other studies used women's self-reported cycle date). In these studies, no pregnancies occurred in the women who took ECPs before ovulation; while pregnancies occurred only in women who took ECPs on or after the day of ovulation, providing evidence that ECPs were unable to prevent implantation. [International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics, March 2012]
4. They Claimed The New Health Care Law Funds Abortions
Drudge Report: "SURPRISE: Feds Approve Taxpayer Subsidies For Abortion Coverage." On October 1, a Drudge Report headline reading, "Feds approve taxpayer subsidies for abortion coverage" linked to a Washington Times article that further pushed the claim that a new Office of Personnel Management ruling broke federal law on abortion funding. [Drudge Report, 10/1/13, via Media Matters]
Mark Levin: "Policies That Members Of Congress And Their Staffers Get ... It Will Allow For Abortions." On the October 1 edition of The Mark Levin Show, host Mark Levin said, "You know the policies that members of Congress and their staffers get that you subsidize? It will allow for abortions. I thought the president said that would not be the case." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Mark Levin Show, 10/1/13, via Media Matters]
Fox News' America Live Attempted To Tie Obamacare To Abortion Funding For Planned Parenthood: On the August 22 edition of America Live, guest host Shannon Bream and correspondent Molly Henneberg dishonestly linked abortion with federal funds going to Planned Parenthood to help enroll Americans in health insurance. Bream proclaimed there was "outrage over a new plan to give federal money to Planned Parenthood" and concluded that "critics are upset that the government wants to give funds to clinics that also provide abortions." Henneberg also brought up the red herring that Planned Parenthood is "the largest abortion provider in the country." [Fox News, America Live, 8/22/2013, via Media Matters]
FACT: Obamacare Doesn't Fund Abortions
OPM: No Federal Funds "Will Be Used To Cover Abortions Or To Administer Plans That Cover Abortions." On September 30, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) clearly stated that no federal funds "will be used to cover abortions or to administer plans that cover abortions" and that the OPM will ensure any plan that administers the procedures will be paid for by the individual and not a government contribution:
Coverage of Abortion Services
Under OPM's final rule, no Federal funds, including administrative funds, will be used to cover abortions or administer plans that cover abortions. Unlike the health plans for which OPM contracts pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 8902, 8903 and 8903a, OPM does not administer the terms of the health benefits plans offered on an Exchange. Consequently, while plans with such coverage may be offered on an Exchange, OPM can and will take appropriate administrative steps to ensure that the cost of any such coverage purchased by a Member of Congress or a congressional staffer from a designed SHOP is accounted for and paid by the individual rather than from a government contribution, consistent with the general prohibition on Federal funds being used for this purpose. [Office of Personnel Management, 9/30/13]
3. They Claimed Access To Contraceptives Increases Sexual Activity In Teens
Fox Host Martha MacCallum Wondered If Increased Access To Emergency Contraceptives "Would Encourage" Underage Sex. On Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum introduced a segment on the FDA's decision to expand access to Plan B as "something that critics argue could encourage sexual activity." Later in the segment, she responded to a comment about teen sex by asking if access to Plan B would encourage teens' sexual activity. [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 5/3/13]
Fox's Andrew Napolitano: Emergency Contraceptive Access Will "Encourage 15-Year-Olds To Have Sex." On Fox News' Fox & Friends, Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano used state efforts to limit access to emergency contraceptives to dispute the FDA's expanding Plan B access, claiming, "States regulating for health, safety, welfare, and morality say well this isn't right, we don't want to encourage 15-year-olds to have sex":
NAPOLITANO: The Constitution keeps the power in the states to regulate for health, safety, welfare, and morality. The Constitution also has given Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. So these two things are clashing. Congress set up the FDA, and the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration, decides what drugs we can take and who can take them.
ALISYN CAMEROTA (co-host): Okay.
NAPOLITANO: So the FDA says girls as young as 15 can take the morning-after pill. The states regulating for health, safety, welfare, and morality say, well this isn't right, we don't want to encourage 15-year-olds to have sex. We think they should be older. So you have the right of the state to protect the morality of young women versus the right of the FDA to decide who can take the drugs, and they're going to clash and they're going to clash in a federal courtroom and a federal judge will make this decision.
NAPOLITANO: Is there one size fits all declared by the FDA, no matter what the states want, no matter what the level of morality or need for education is? Or can this be done by state by state?" [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/2/13, via Media Matters]
FACT: Research Shows Access To Emergency Contraceptives Does Not Increase Teens' Sexual Activity
Guttmacher Institute: Increased Access To Contraceptives Does Not Correlate With Increased Sexual Activity In Teens. The Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit group that focuses on sexual and reproductive health, conducted a study in 2012 in which the organization "interviewed a nationally representative sample of teens from June 2006 to June 2008, and again from July 2008 to July 2010." During those periods, it found no correlation between increased contraceptive use and sexual activity:
While there was no significant change over those years in the overall proportion of females aged 15-19 who were sexually experienced or engaging in sexual activity, there was a dramatic shift in teen contraceptive use. [Guttmacher Institute, 4/11/12]
Reuters: Seven Studies Found Access To Morning-After Pill Did Not Increase Teens' Sexual Activity. A Reuters article on the American Academy of Pediatrics' decision to support increased access to emergency contraceptives for teenagers explained that a "2010 analysis of seven randomized studies of emergency contraception found that having a morning-after prescription in hand did not increase teens' sexual activity or decrease use of standard contraceptives but did increase use of the pill and shorten the time before a teenager used it after sex." [Reuters,11/26/12]
Bixby Center: Research Shows No Evidence Of A Link Between Emergency Contraceptives And Sexual Risk-Taking. The Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco found that emergency contraception (EC) does not promote sexual risk-taking and that instead, "a substantial body of research demonstrates that there is no relationship between availability of EC and increased sexual risk behavior":
Though emergency contraception (EC) is only intended for occasional use, concerns have been raised that increasing access to EC (e.g., by making it available without prescription over-the-counter) would lead to increased sexual risk-taking. For example, if EC was easily accessible, would women use contraception less regularly, more readily engage in casual sex, or be at increased risk of contracting STIs? There is no scientific evidence to substantiate these concerns. To the contrary, a substantial body of research demonstrates that there is no relationship between availability of EC and increased sexual risk behavior.
A key study found that women who received advance provision of EC did not have sex more frequently than other women, nor did they have greater numbers of sexual partners, behaviors that can increase the risk of contracting an STI ... In fact, the majority of women in the study had only one partner, regardless of whether or not they received advance provision of EC. Moreover, levels of STIs, such as chlamydia and herpes, were similar across women in the study ... indicating that improved availability of EC does not affect STI risk. Women receiving advance provision of EC have also reported that having EC on hand does not influence their decision-making with regard to unsafe sex or exposure to STIs. [Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, April 2008]
Princeton University: Studies Show That Access To Emergency Contraceptives And Education Does Not Increase Teen Sexual Activity. Research published by Princeton University on emergency contraceptives explained that while there is some disagreement in the scientific literature, two studies had shown that "teens receiving emergency contraception supplies in advance ... did not report higher frequencies of unprotected sex" and that "educating teens about ECPs does not increase their sexual activity levels":
[T]eens receiving emergency contraception supplies in advance were more likely to use ECPs when needed but did not report higher frequencies of unprotected sex, did not use condoms or hormonal contraception less often, and did not exhibit higher rates of STIs. Another study demonstrated that educating teens about ECPs does not increase their sexual activity levels or use of EC but increases their knowledge about proper administration of the drugs. [Princeton University, December 2013]
2. They Laughed Off The Need For Coverage Of Contraception And Maternity Care
Fox's Stossel Argued Obamacare Should Let Insurers Discriminate Against Women. Fox Business host John Stossel appeared on the October 31 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends to argue that insurers should be able to charge women more than men for health insurance:
STOSSEL: For example, yesterday President Obama stood in front of a bunch of women in Massachusetts and said, "no longer will those evil insurance companies be able to charge you women more!" [...] Women go to the doctor much more often than men, Maybe they're smarter or maybe they're hypochondriacs. They live longer, who knows. But if it's insurance, you ought to be able to charge people who use the services more, more! [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/31/13]
Fox Imagines Much-Discussed Universal Maternity Coverage Was Kept Secret. On the November 15 edition of Your World, host Neil Cavuto pretended that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) ban on gender discrimination, which requires all policies to include maternity care coverage, was never "telegraphed" to the American people when the law was first discussed, ignoring repeated remarks made by President Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and multiple media outlets prior to the bill's passage. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/15/13, via Media Matters]
Limbaugh: Coverage For "Breast Pumps And Birth Control Pills" Is "Not Insurance, It's Welfare." Rush Limbaugh claimed that "insurance is being stretched to cover things it should never have to cover," such as "breast pumps and birth control pills." Limbaugh later added, "It's not insurance, it's welfare." [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 10/31/13]
Fox Host Elisabeth Hasselbeck: ACA Is "Sticking It To Men." Fox & Friends co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck said the ACA is "hitting the men" and "sticking it to men," highlighting a premium estimate showing women currently paying higher insurance premiums than men, and then complaining that men's premiums will increase. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/24/13, via Media Matters]
FACT: Women Are Discriminated Against In The Individual Health Insurance Market
National Women's Law Center: "Women Are Routinely Charged More For Coverage Than Men." The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) defines "gender rating" as "the practice of charging women different premiums than men" and has found that women face significant price discrimination in the health insurance market:
In particular, women are routinely charged more for coverage than men while maternity coverage is generally excluded from individual market plans. This new report demonstrates that little progress has been made since the Center first documented the problem. The overarching conclusion is that the outright discrimination and barriers based on sex largely remain in place and there is no sign that insurance companies have, on their own, taken steps to eliminate the inequities. [National Women's Law Center, March 2012, via Media Matters]
NY Times: "Women Still Pay More Than Men For The Same Health Insurance Coverage." In an article headlined "Gender Gap Persists in Cost of Health Insurance," The New York Times reported:
Women still pay more than men for the same health insurance coverage, according to new research and data from online brokers.
The new health care law will prohibit such "gender rating," starting in 2014. But gaps persist in most states, with no evidence that insurers have taken steps to reduce them. [The New York Times, 3/19/12, via Media Matters]
NWLC: Gender Rating Costs Women An Extra $1 Billion Per Year. According to the NWLC, gender rating is "rampant" in the individual health insurance market and costs women approximately $1 billion per year:
In states that have not banned the practice, the vast majority, 92%, of best-selling plans gender rate, for example, charging 40-year-old women more than 40-year-old men for coverage. Only 3% of these plans cover maternity services.
Based on an average of currently advertised premiums and the most recent data on the number of women in the individual health insurance market, the practice of gender rating costs women approximately $1 billion a year. [National Women's Law Center, March 2012, via Media Matters]
1. They Ignored The Harmful Effects Of State Restrictions To Reproductive Choice
Bill O'Reilly Said That Allowing Abortions For "Women's Health -- That's Any Reason At All." On the July 10 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly questioned why women would need an abortion after 20 weeks, saying that allowing abortion for "women's health -- that's any reason at all." [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 6/10/13]
MacCallum Downplayed Effect Of Texas' SB5. During the July 1 edition of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host MacCallum called into question Texas State Senator Wendy Davis' filibuster that temporarily defeated Texas' Senate Bill 5 (SB5). Critics of the bill said it would have shuttered all but five of the 47 clinics that provide abortions in Texas. MacCallum attempted to discredit this claim, saying, "That makes you just wonder how many of these clinics are surviving on the fact that they are performing abortions, if so many of them would have to close if indeed it were able to pass." [Fox News, American's Newsroom, 7/1/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Contributor Kirsten Powers: "I Don't Think That Many Clinics Are Going To Close." On the June 26 edition of Fox News' America Live, Fox contributor Kirsten Powers claimed that concerns from reproductive rights groups were exaggerated, adding: "I don't think that many clinics are going to close." Her guest Monica Crowley agreed, saying reproductive health advocates "always try to go right to hyperbole -- that women are going to have to flee to Tijuana because they're not going to have access in Texas to abortion. It's all ridiculous." [Fox News,America Live, 6/26/13, via Media Matters]
Fox Contributor Michelle Malkin Misled On Consequences Of Texas Abortion Bill: On the July 8 edition of Fox News' America Live, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin claimed that the Texas legislation was simply a question of whether or not abortion providers would "abide by standards that will ensure safety." [Fox News, America Live, 7/8/13, via Media Matters]
FACT: Restrictions to Reproductive Health Services Are Devastating To Women's Health
Texas ACOG: Texas Abortion Restrictions Erode Women's Health. The Texas District Of The American Congress Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressed opposition to the state's proposed abortion restrictions, which are now law. ACOG said the bill imposes requirements on doctors and facilities providing abortions "that are unnecessary and unsupported by scientific evidence" and have no "basis in public health or safety." The organization's June 25 statement further stated:
The Texas District of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) opposes SB 5/HB 60 and other legislative proposals that are not based on sound science or that attempt to prescribe how physicians should care for their individual patients. As a District of the Nation's leading authority in women's health, our role is to ensure that policy proposals accurately reflect the best available medical knowledge.
SB 5/HB 60 will not enhance patient safety or improve the quality of care that women receive. This bill does not promote women's health, but erodes it by denying women in Texas the benefits of well-researched, safe, and proven protocols. [ACOG-TX, 6/30/13, via Media Matters]
ACOG: Proposed Requirements Would Prevent Clinics From Providing Important Non-Abortion Services. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Texas' new restrictions would close many clinics that provide important women's health care services, including mammograms and prenatal care:
These bills would also impose a number of requirements for abortion facilities that are touted as necessary to ensure the health of the woman, but are, in fact, unnecessary and unsupported by scientific evidence. These proposed requirements, concerning door width and other irrelevant issues, would only make it extremely difficult or impossible for most clinics, including clinics that primarily provide important non-abortion well-woman health care services such as mammograms and prenatal care to low-income women, to stay open. For example, the bills would require physicians who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles and allow abortions only in clinics that meet surgical clinic standards, imposing government regulations on abortion care that are much stricter than for colonoscopy and other similar low-risk procedures. The fact is that abortion is one of the safest medical procedures, with minimal -- less than 0.5% -- risk of major complications that might need hospital care. [ACOG, 7/9/13, via Media Matters]
Whole Women's Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller: Bill Would "Put More Women At Risk For Later Term Abortions Or Illicit Abortions." In her testimony to Texas' Health and Human Services Committee on the proposed abortion legislation, Whole Women's Health CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said that the bill would force more women to seek abortions later or from illicit providers outside the medical community:
Abortion facilities in Texas are licensed, inspected, and highly regulated. We operate safe and professional facilities all over this state, and the ASC requirements will not improve care, but rather reduce access for women in Texas and put more women at risk for later term abortions or for illicit abortions outside the medical community. ASC regulations are primarily related to the physical plant and they do not make abortion any safer. [RH Reality Check, 7/8/13, via Media Matters]
Guttmacher Institute: Targeted Regulation Of Abortion Provider Laws "Have Nothing To Do With Protecting Women." A report by the Guttmacher Institute found that new legislation instituting "onerous and irrelevant licensing requirements" on abortion clinics is simply a veiled effort to shut down clinics across the country, and has "nothing to do with" women's health:
Over the years, these have been among the many favored obstacles antiabortion activists have thrown in the path of women seeking to terminate their pregnancies -- all under the guise of protecting women's health. Hundreds of these requirements are now law across the country at the state level. And at this point, having mostly exhausted legal means of discouraging women from choosing abortion, opponents recently have stepped up their efforts to block clinics from providing them. More than half the states now have laws instituting onerous and irrelevant licensing requirements, known as Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws, which have nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with shutting down clinics. [The Guttmacher Institute, Spring 2013, via Media Matters]