Divided court weighs abortion rules

"The division among the justices seemed clear on the measure's dual requirements -- an abortion doctor must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital in case a woman needs emergency admission and an abortion clinic must meet the health and safety standards of other walk-in surgical centers." BPress

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Bert Perry's picture

.....a huge part of this case is whether it is an intolerable burden for those seeking prenatal infanticide to drive more than 100 miles.  The left side of the court is coming very close to asserting that the government has an affirmative responsibility to make sure abortion is available everywhere with less than a two hour drive.  In other words, they're taking Planned Parenthood v. Casey's "undue burden" provision and interpreting it in a way that the majority would never have intended it.  

Why this is important; most pro-life people, about half the country and a greater portion of its new parents, will avoid patronizing an abortionist for obstetrics services for that reason.  Even many pro-choice people might hesitate, wondering what might happen due to muscle memory and such.  They will also avoid hospitals that provide abortions.  So abortionists really need to "get enough business" at the abortion clinic to make ends meet.

The trouble is that there simply aren't enough abortions to pay abortionists' salaries and overhead outside of big cities--there are about 2000 abortionists and a million surgical abortions with (Guttmacher Inst. estimate) a median price of $470.  You don't even pay the quarter million dollar salary with that.

So for those who want abortion to be available, you've got to have a few things.  First of all, you've got to have minimal regulations.  Next, you can't require admitting privileges--think any Catholic or Baptist hospital is going to grant those to an abortionist?   Third, you need to have some other services being provided at that clinic--contraception, pap smears, mammogram referrals--for those who do not have a choice about where they get medical care.  

The good news here is that every bit of effective regulation that passes court scrutiny is going to shut down a few abortion clinics, and the loss of government funding would be nearly lethal to Planned Parenthood.  The bad news is that they're going to fight for this with everything they've got, because their business model simply doesn't make sense.