The Red Tape Around Abortion

Elizabeth Nolan Brown discusses the significance of a 72-hour waiting period for abortion:

In effect, waiting-period rules like the one Missouri Republicans are pushing just make it logistically harder for women to exercise their right to an abortion. Yesterday I wrote about a Pennsylvania woman who ordered the abortion pill illegally online because the nearest clinic was more than 70 miles away. Some on social media scoffed at the idea that 70 miles was too far to travel—but because of mandatory waiting periods and other bureaucratic nonsense, what could be a one- or two-visit procedure actually requires three or four separate visits.

This is why it’s such bullshit when anti-abortion types talk about how it’s just an extra day or two wait; it’s just a requirement that only a physician can physically hand a woman the abortion pill; it’s just one or two clinics that will close down due to hospitals refusing admitting-privileges to abortion doctors… Taken individually, none of the restrictions may seem that nefarious. But these restrictions don’t exist in a vacuum. And the cumulative effect is absolutely to create a climate where the time and capital required to terminate a pregnancy becomes prohibitive for large numbers of women.

Emily Shire, meanwhile, is uncomfortable with differentiating between “good” and “bad” abortions:

When female politicians like Davis describe their abortions, they generally fit this narrative: a tortured, loving mother acting out of almost pure medical necessity. After Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) revealed on the House floor that she’d had an abortion, she made it abundantly clear that it was due to the fact the fetus “could not survive.” Her candor was a purposeful rebuke to Republican accusations that abortion is “a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly, or done without any thought,” she said. Her speech was powerful—and it also conveyed the attitude that abortion wasn’t a real choice for her. In fact, following her speech, Speier released a press statement to dispel any accusations that she wanted to have an abortion: “Today some news reports are implying that I wanted my pregnancy to end, but that is simply not true. I lost my baby.”

It is this kind of abortion narrative that is easiest for people to digest, and there are many cases like this. They are as emotionally-wrought and heartbreaking as Davis describes. But there are also many reasons for having abortions that generate far more judgment and stigma.

Recent Dish on Wendy Davis’ abortion revelation here.