“Bitches ain’t shit” laws not making it past the court system

Jodi Jacobson gives us two articles at RH Reality Check about two judges who’ve blocked two laws in two states intended effectively to eliminate abortion access altogether.

We have Judge Schreier in South Dakota:

In finding that the “pregnancy help center” requirement is likely unconstitutional, the Court said:  “Forcing a woman to divulge to a stranger at a pregnancy help center the fact that she has chosen to undergo an abortion humiliates and degrades her as a human being. The woman will feel degraded by the compulsive nature of the Pregnancy Help Center requirements, which suggest that she has made the ‘wrong’ decision, has not really ‘thought’ about her decision to undergo an abortion, or is ‘not intelligent enough’ to make the decision with the advice of a physician.  Furthermore, these women are forced into a hostile environment.”

U.S. District Judge Marguia is having none of this bullshit in Kansas:

The regulations, an example of what are known as Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers or TRAP laws, would require clinics to meet medically unnecessary conditions to maintain their operating licences, by for example mandating specific sizes for a janitorial closet.

The new law would require hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices to obtain an annual license from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to perform more than five non-emergency abortions in a month. The regulations tell abortion providers what drugs and equipment they must stock and, among other things, establish minimum sizes and acceptable temperatures for procedure and recovery rooms.

The injunction will remain in effect until a trial is held in a lawsuit challenging the Kansas rules. The new law and regulations would otherwise have taken effect on Friday and would have resulted in closure of two out of three clinics offering abortion in Kansas for failure to meet what were hastily crafted and changing regulations. The lawsuit was filed was filed earlier this week by Drs. Hodes and Nauser of the Center for Women’s Health, Aid for Women in Kansas City, and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri. PPKM withdrew from the suit yesterday when it was able to prove it met even the most unreasonable criteria and received a license from the state board.

Meanwhile, I just know the legislators who passed the Kansas law are now tearing their hair out over PPKM being able to meet the licensing requirements.

Both of these state laws have in common that they intend to make abortion de facto illegal in each state by making it impossible to obtain legally. They’re not like Georgia, where Rep. Bobby “I’d Rather Be In Gilead” Franklin wrote a bill in full-throated contempt of the U.S. Supreme Court. They are both intended to make abortion impossible to access in each state without actually saying it’s illegal. The Kansas law is the more dry, pragmatic bill, which targets abortion providers, while the South Dakota law is the more sadistic, manipulative law which targets the women seeking abortions. I think the mentality behind both measures is more like that in Ireland: out of sight, out of mind.

That’s an important distinction, because so many other restrictions on abortion rights don’t really stop women from having abortions so much as make their lives needlessly difficult. Notification laws punish girls for having abusive parents, while judicial bypass requirements force those girls to wait longer to obtain abortions, which means they’re terminating more-developed fetuses. Ultrasound requirements make the abortion process more expensive and more emotionally onerous, which means many women have to wait longer to come up with the money, which means, again, abortions are performed at later stages of pregnancy. Medicaid restrictions: again, more expensive, so they have to wait longer. Waiting periods mean women have to take more time off work and/or arrange more childcare, so it’s once again more expensive and more stressful.

The law in South Dakota is on paper a more advanced form of the usual roadblocks which make abortion needlessly traumatic and troublesome: it combines a 72-hour waiting period with a mandatory visit at a Crisis Pregnancy Center, which will not let medical facts get in the way of bullying women into having lots of babies. Technically, the effect of the law was to force women to wait three days after the initial appointment with the abortion provider and in the meantime sit through a lecture by a non-medical non-professional who is determined to frighten her into bringing the pregnancy to term. The twist is that after the law was passed, no CPCs in the state signed up to verify that women have visited them during their waiting periods. If there are no CPCs available to tick the box that says the woman did her duty and sat through the propaganda, then the result is that it’s impossible to get an abortion in South Dakota. This should not be a surprise, considering that CPCs’ reason for existence is to stop women from having abortions. The law has the same effect as one that says the U.S. Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in the state and Roe v. Wade can go jump in the lake. Ergo, South Dakotan women in need of abortions would have to travel to Minnesota or Iowa to have the procedures, so again: more troublesome, more expensive, happens later. In the meantime, South Dakota legislators can pat themselves on the back when the abortion stats say it’s not happening in their state.

The Kansas law would have the same effect by regulating abortion providers out of existence, only PPKM beat them at their own game. Even so, if the law is allowed to take effect, it’ll only be a matter of time before the regulations are made even more arbitrary and onerous so that no one at all is able to provide abortions in Kansas.

The law in Kansas makes allowances for “emergency” abortions, by which I guess they mean doctors are allowed to do it to save the woman’s life, and that much is also vulnerable to restrictions on what constitutes an emergency. Neither the South Dakota nor the Kansas restriction leaves any room for exceptions for rape or incest, and I’ve written before that such exceptions are impossible to enforce with any degree of fairness. As long as the state governments cannot prevent women from leaving, they can’t stop women from having abortions in neighboring states. As far as making abortion impossible to access, however, they’re doing about as much as they possibly can. I’ll give them points for directness.