At a certain moment, at a time when some hopeful souls still believed in the power of compromise and constructive dialogue, someone uttered the phrase that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare.
What pro-choice people meant by rare was that other reproductive health tools and technology, everything from comprehensive sex-ed to well-woman exams and contraception, would be so readily available, affordable, and effective that the number of unintended pregnancies (the leading cause of abortion, after all) would be reduced, and therefore, abortions would be rare.
It turns out that the not-pro-choice people had already embarked upon a strategy to make abortion rare by making it incredibly difficult to find a provider who would actually be able to offer the service. This strategy includes but is not limited to:
- Limiting the number of providers – only a minority of medical schools teach students, even OB/GYN students, how to perform abortions, even though many of the procedures are used not only for elective abortions, but in cases of miscarriage.
- Limiting the number of providers – by shooting at them in their homes, churches, and offices; bombing their places of business; stalking them and their families.
- Passing legislation, collectively known as TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers), that regulates the industry so tightly, and changes the rules so frequently, that providers simply cannot afford to stay in business to provide a legal medical service that thousands of people want.
The Economist just published a quick but informative piece about this last strategy.
TRAP laws are fundamentally nasty, which is something I’ve come to expect from the Regressive Right, and yet another glaring example of the way the RR is willing to completely abandon all principles when it comes to restricting women’s rights.
Can you imagine any other industry that would cause the RR to advocate for MORE government regulation? Aren’t we a capitalist country with a job shortage? Is there any other industry where the RR wants to make it harder for business owners to meet consumer demand?
It isn’t about protecting the not-yet-born, because if it were, the RR would be paying more attention to taking care of the post-born and the already-born. It is about punishing women (but not men) for daring to have sex and for daring to act responsibly in coping with the consequences.
I refuse to say abortion should be safe, legal, and rare. It already is, but for all of the wrong reasons. It should be rare because women don’t need it, not because they can’t get it.