Thursday, March 3, 2016

Untrapped (The California Story) Part 3 [Serge]

In part one of this series, we challenged the idea that so-called TRAP laws are predominantly responsible for the decrease in abortion providers as argued by this John Oliver video and the upcoming documentary Trapped. I used the state of Iowa as an example of a state without any TRAP laws that have lost a number of abortion clinics. One may argue that Iowa is a small state and could very well be an outlier, so today I turn my attention to the largest state and the one that performs the most abortions - California.

California is possibly the most abortion friendly state in our nation. They not enacted any TRAP laws, and they have specifically passed a law that ensures that surgical abortion clinics would not be held to any building standard that primary care facilities are not held to. In other words, if a building is appropriate for a doctor to check your child for strep throat, it is fine to be used to perform abortions. Basically, it is an anti-TRAP law.

Also, California has specifically attempted to increase access to abortion by allowing nurses and PA's to perform abortions. This was branded at the time as a game changer. In fact, this is how these two laws were described:
But California is going in the opposite direction, with two bills that could lead to the one of the biggest expansions of access to abortion in the United States since the FDA approved mifepristone, aka the abortion pill, in 2000.(emphasis mine)
Here we have the state that performs the greatest number of abortions, specifically enacting laws designed to increase abortion access - even to the point of not requiring a doctor perform surgical abortions. Even our opponents expected the biggest expansion of abortion availability to occur after these change. So what exactly did happen? Has California bucked the trend of abortion facilities closing?

The answer is no. According to Bloomberg, over a dozen clinics have closed in California since 2011. If the goal of these laws was increased access to abortion, they have been an abject failure. If one believes that eliminating all TRAP laws will result in an increase in abortion access, all evidence shows that they are simply wrong.

I'm not the only one who has seen this trend. Both The Guardian and the Washington Post among others have reported that the decrease in abortion clinics has also occurred in liberal states as well as conservative ones. Yet this evidence is completely ignored by Oliver's video and most likely will be ignored by the Trapped documentary. If you believe decreased access to abortion is a horrible tragedy, it's easy to attempt to lay the blame on callous pro-life legislation. It's much more difficult to acknowledge that this "problem" is occurring in states that have the most liberal abortion laws. Putting teary eyed abortion workers on camera doesn't change this fact.

1 comment:

  1. Dr Poupard,
    I am a primary care physician working in the UK. I am investigating in some depth the ethical issues concerning hormonal contraception, and specifically the evidence for their mechanisms of action,. I am trying to clarify my position as someone who believes life begins at conception. I have found some of your previous articles on the subject in this blog to be of great benefit to me. I have also listened to a few interviews you have given on the subject. You had mentioned then that when discussing the contraceptive “pill” you are referring to the combined OCP. You have discussed how there is little strong evidence for a post-fertilisation effect of the combined OCP and possibly also for plan B. However, in one interview you briefly mentioned how the same may not be able to be said for the regular use of progesterone only pills. I would like to hear any further thoughts you have on this and specifically why you believe there to be more doubt when it comes to the progesterone only pill. I realise this may not be the best medium to discuss this, but I was not sure of another way to get in touch with you. Your help and advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you.


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