People often ask me how it is that abortion can be banned. They wonder (rightly) how laws can diminish a right guaranteed by a 1973 Supreme Court Case (Roe v. Wade) which made abortion legal in every state in the union. The answer to this question is complex and long-winded, but the short answer is, they can’t ban abortion outright. And they know that, because anti-choice lawmakers and strategists are very smart people. Their strategy is not to ban abortion (not at the outset), the strategy is to chip away at a woman’s right to choose slowly, so that abortion access is extremely limited and weak. Simultaneously, they hope to bring a case to the highest court that might overturn Roe. One of the most successful legal strategies so far has been the introduction of TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion care Providers).
Last night, the North Carolina GOP introduced the first TRAP law of this legislative session. TRAP laws have one goal and one goal only, to slowly and deliberately eliminate abortion-care providers, so that it is virtually impossible for women to choose abortion. Here’s our official statement about this particular bill:
Today, Senators Daniel, Randleman and Hunt introduced S.B. 308, a bill designed to increase the cost and limit the accessibility of abortion in North Carolina. If this legislation moves forward, North Carolina could join the ranks of states like Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana. “TRAP laws (targeted regulation of abortion providers) like this bill impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers– but not other medical professionals– in a clear attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain,” stated Suzanne Buckley, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina.
“S.B. 308. subjects health-care providers to different regulations simply because they offer women the full range of reproductive-health-care options. This bill is discriminatory, and serves only to stigmatize abortion providers and marginalize abortion from the larger picture of women’s health care,” she continued. “Legal abortion is one of the safest medical procedures in the United States, and excessive regulation of abortion providers is not intended to protect women’s health nor will it have that effect. The goal and effect of TRAP laws, such as this bill, is simply to reduce an already limited supply of abortion providers by singling them out for medically unnecessary regulation,” said Buckley.
Anti-choice lawmakers like Senator Daniels claim that what’s at stake is women’s safety, but the aim of a TRAP law is always the same: interfering with women’s access to abortion. If politicians are able to pass this bill in the General Assembly, North Carolina women will suffer. This bill, like other TRAP measures, threatens women’s health because it could have the effect of driving abortion providers out of business, making safe abortion more difficult to obtain in North Carolina. “That’s the goal of this legislation. This bill is a direct attempt to restrict North Carolina women’s access to reproductive health care services,” said Buckley.
Let me be absolutely clear here: shit just got REAL in the great state of North Carolina. If this law passes, it is going to affect the lives of women you know personally. This is a time for action. Join us next Wednesday (noon at Halifax Mall) in downtown Raleigh to tell Lawmakers to stay out of women’s personal medical decisions. They don’t want in our shoes, they cannot make decisions on our behalf.