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August 26, 2013 11:42 AM TRAP Is Working

By Ed Kilgore

So the big switch in antichoice tactics to a combo platter of late-term abortion restrictions and TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) provisions allegedly justified by late-term abortions is having a tangible effect, at least in some states. As Laura Bassett reports at HuffPost, the number of closed clinics is beginning to add up:

At least 54 abortion providers across 27 states have shut down or ended their abortion services in the past three years, and several more clinics are only still open because judges have temporarily blocked legislation that would make it difficult for them to continue to operate….
A comprehensive survey by The Daily Beast found that as of January 2013, 724 abortion clinics remained operational across the U.S.
While some of the 54 closures were due to unrelated factors, the states that have lost the most clinics over the past three years are the same ones that have seen draconian new abortion restrictions and the biggest cuts to family planning funding. In Texas, which has lost nine clinics, lawmakers have slashed family planning funding in the state budget, required abortion clinics to become ambulatory surgical centers and required abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Arizona lawmakers passed similar legislation and pushed out a total of 12 providers; the state had 18 abortion clinics in 2010 and now has only six, according to NARAL Pro-Choice Arizona.

This trend could continue or even intensify if (a) federal courts don’t slow it down, and (b) Republicans maintain their grip on state legislatures and governorships in the upcoming midterms.

The antichoice movement’s decision to work on the supply side of the market for abortion services has been pretty shrewd. It keeps them on a relatively sunny side of public opinion while obscuring their radical goals, and in some places achieves the central goal of making abortions practically unavailable for the women who most need help.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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