The Triumph of Bureaucracy Over Abortion Rights

September 16, 2013 • Reproductive Health, United States, News

The Triumph of Bureaucracy Over Abortion Rights
by Michelle Goldberg
The abortion battleground is becoming a fight over reams of red tape. No wonder nobody is really paying any attention.

The recent revelation that nearly one in 10 abortion clinics in the United States have closed during the past two years has received a lot less coverage than Todd Aiken’s asininities or proposals to force transvaginal ultrasounds on unwilling women. Nor has there been much chatter about the new round of assaults on RU-486, which have led to a case that’s been accepted before the Supreme Court, with potentially far-reaching conclusions. Partly, this is due to fatigue-these days, news of broad new abortion restrictions is barely news at all. Partly, it’s because there’s so much going on in the world-public attention is, understandably, focused on Syria. But it’s also because the anti-abortion movement has been making epochal advances using regulations that are as tedious to read about as they are to describe. In the abortion wars, boredom has become a powerful weapon.

Let’s start with the clinics closings. To find out what’s happening on the ground, Bloomberg’s Esmé E. Deprez did the painstaking work of reaching out to abortion providers all across the country, tallying 58 that have closed since 2011. “A wave of regulations that makes it too expensive or logistically impossible for facilities to remain in business drove at least a third of the closings,” she wrote. According to the Dallas Morning News, at least four more clinics are about to close in rural Texas. The sole clinics in North Dakota and Mississippi remain open only because courts have temporarily blocked the regulations that would shut them down.

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