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Several days ago, as she considered a follow-up to her abortion diary Abortion Rights: It's About Women, mcjoan asked some of us for suggestions about the central issues involved for physicians or providers: "What should political activists know from your perspective, and what would you like the general public to know?"  

There really is a first time for everything, because by the time I'd finished "suggesting" I had (finally ;-) ended up with a diary of my own.   So thank you, mcjoan . . . I think.

The TRAP is what providers of abortion care worry about even more than the threat of bombs and bullets.  This is what they would like everyone else to know.

If you ask most people to name the greatest threat to the availability of legal abortion in the United States, they'll anxiously bite their nails or eagerly lick their chops at the prospect of Roe v. Wade being overturned by a Bush-packed Supreme Court.  

While the possible loss of Roe certainly looms on the horizon, it's not at the top of the list for me.  Not for me, and not for anyone else I know who does what I do.  Just about anyone in America's abortion-providing community (it's sort of like dKos, but a whole lot smaller) will tell you that the most imminent and potent threat to the continued existence of safe and legal abortion care in most parts of the United States is the TRAP - and that's just what it says it is.  

If you already know that TRAP stands for the Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, then you probably understand why these laws are proliferating faster than we can count them.  There are so very many TRAP laws already in existence, and so many more on the way, simply because they work so very well.  

Since doctors have been denied access to traditional health care settings such as hospitals and surgical centers for the provision of abortion services, an infrastructure of specialized, freestanding clinics has arisen to fill a need that otherwise would go unmet.  That marginalization hasn't been entirely a bad thing, because highly specialized doctors become highly experienced and highly skilled doctors.  

Advances in surgical abortion methods don't trickle down to the clinics from the major teaching hospitals.  A couple of generations ago, battlefield medics returned home to enhance the delivery of emergency trauma care.  Today many doctors who provide abortions "on the front lines" in freestanding clinics are routinely asked to lend their hard-won expertise to their OB/GYN colleagues at major hospitals - highly skilled and experienced practitioners who are nevertheless unsure of how best to manage abortion procedures needed by their own high-risk patients.  

Besides, a woman has a much greater assurance of medical confidentiality in a small clinic, and it is easier for a small facility to keep its services affordable.  But specialized clinics have become the only settings in which abortion care is available in most of the country - and in their isolation, they are increasingly under siege from hard-line state governments that, even though they can't make abortion illegal, are intent on making it all but impossible.  

Almost everyone has heard by now about the ubiquitous "Woman's Right to Know" laws requiring biased information and mandatory waiting periods, those sections of TRAP laws most directly affecting women who seek abortions.  Anti-choice politicians such as Frank Corte, the perpetrator of Texas' antiabortion law HB15 (and whose newest bill aims to deny women in Texas not only abortion, but birth control as well), have no trouble marketing and selling TRAP laws to an impressionable public.  

The sales pitch goes like this: "We're not saying that abortion shouldn't be LEGAL.  But this law is the only way to make sure that vulnerable women can get SAFE care from shady and unscrupulous "abortionists."   The true intent of these laws is very different, of course; they are intended to prevent access to abortion care, and they do.  

But the rest of the story is that TRAP laws and their attendant "under the radar" regulations are also expressly written to impose extreme medico-legal risks and punitively high expenditures upon abortion-providing doctors and clinics, a tremendously effective strategy for increasing both the risk and the cost of providing abortion care to such an extreme point that it becomes unfeasible for a physician to continue doing it.  

TRAP laws and regulations are in effect in over 30 states, but here are just a few ways for either your own or someone else's innocent oversight to effectively end your medical career in Texas, even if you're lucky enough not to end up in jail:

  • All licensed abortion facilities in Texas are required to make a photocopy of each patient's photo ID, and to keep it as part of her medical record.  That is an egregious intrusion on a woman's privacy, but the doctor's problem begins when someone presents a fake ID good enough to pass inspection, one that says the patient is 19 years old instead of 17.  Well, Doctor, unless you can prove you didn't know she was under 18 (and negatives are notoriously hard to prove, a Houston jury having found a couple of years ago that even though a doctor didn't know, he damned well should have, and the state having further tightened the law since) you can be found guilty of a criminal offense.

  • Yesterday morning your patient called the clinic to arrange an appointment, and received the requisite state-mandated information "orally by telephone," meaning that she heard a message that you have recorded for that purpose.  She came in for her appointment today as scheduled, and you performed her abortion procedure.  The patient is relieved and grateful, and thanks you repeatedly before she drives herself home.  Everything's fine, right?  Wrong.  According to your own surgical notes, you began her procedure at 10:37 AM, but the documentation in her chart says that she heard the recorded information yesterday morning at 10:38.  The law says the waiting period has to be a full 24 hours.  Whether you overlooked the documented time, misread someone else's bad handwriting, or simply forgot to check your watch doesn't matter; none of those excuses is a defense under the statute. Tough luck, Doctor; you are guilty of yet another criminal offense.

  • Thank goodness, this next patient looks like a safer proposition.  Her chart says that she received her required information way last week.  The only thing is, she and the counselor hit it off and got started talking during their session, and somehow it slipped the counselor's mind to have the patient initial every single blank on the state's certification form and sign it - you know, the form that says you told her every single item of misinformation on the government's lengthy list.  

Damned if that's not three criminal offenses on your record in one day, Doc -- you're turning into a one-man crime spree!

And you know what, Doctor?  Count your paranoid self lucky, because it's even worse across the Sabine River in Louisiana, where you can be sued by any one of your patients for an unlimited amount of damages for up to ten years after performing the abortion that she requested - if, during that procedure, you did "damage" to a fetus.  Yeah, I know.  That's why they call it the "Duh" law - but it's still on the books.

What the antiabortion mob can't legislate, they regulate, so don't get so worried about the laws that you forget to pay attention to the regulations.  These are just a few examples from the 69 printed pages of regulations enforced by the State of Texas upon no other class of heath care providers except facilities that provide abortion care:  

  • Not only does the law in Texas now expose our doctors to criminal prosecution for omitting to tell a woman the hellish lie that abortion is a risk factor for developing breast cancer, or that it may lead to thoughts of suicide, but the 2004 cost of our necessary licensing increased from $1,500 to $8,200.  Aside from the cost of the license itself, $5,700 of this amount is levied against us to cover the cost of the "informational materials" published by the state to warn women of the dire dangers posed to their lives and health by abortion - you know, like the breast cancer thing.

  • Dentists and other health care providers routinely administer nitrous oxide to their patients without any requirement by the state that they use specialized monitoring equipment, but when our patients receive laughing gas, we must provide the same technologically sophisticated pulse oximetry with which critically ill patients are monitored in an ICU setting.  There is no medical justification for it, of course, but the state considers the amount we must spend to purchase and maintain pulse oximeters for every one of our treatment rooms to be reason enough.  

  • Even the smallest clinics must employ, maintain and insure a medical staff sufficiently large to ensure that a patient's vital signs - including her BP, pulse, and respirations - are monitored, recorded and documented in her clinical record more often during a simple and extremely safe first-trimester office procedure than they would be in an ER trauma room if she were having a heart attack -- five times during a five-minute procedure.  If the patient says that she would like to have a little laughing gas, add three assessments and recordings of blood oxygenation, all within that same five-minute time frame.  Are those strictly enforced requirements medically necessary?   Not even on TV.  Does it improve our patient's quality of care?  Not when the nurse is too busy repetitiously noting her vital signs and SpO2 to so much as hold her hand.  But does it cost us thousands a year and make us audit every clinical record with a stopwatch?  Well, OK then . . . maybe it's worth doing after all.  

  • The state's licensing rules also require us to provide extensive written notifications to our patients "at the time of the first consultation," newly defined in 2004 as a prospective patient's first phone call to the clinic.  The only way to avoid incurring the expense of an additional full-time employee to mail, e-mail or fax that information every time the phone rings is to publish the notifications online -- which is why even the smallest abortion-providing clinic in Texas maintains a web site.  The hour and minute that these written notifications are provided must be documented in the patient's medical record, along with the signature and title of the person doing the providing.  And what vitally necessary information is contained in those all-important written notifications?  Well, they consist entirely of a detailed list of instructions for filing complaints against us with - you guessed it -- the state.  

Some of this stuff would be almost funny, except for the crippling effect it has on the ability of doctors to continue providing abortion care without raising their fees far beyond the ability of most of their patients to afford it - and the chilling effect it has on the willingness of most doctors to provide abortion care at all.  

What both anti-choice legislators and abortion-providing doctors know is that TRAP laws are the most highly effective strategic weapons yet devised for the legal intimidation and persecution of physicians by hostile enforcement agencies.  Along with the graying of the ranks of abortion-providing doctors -- well over half of whom are already over 65 - and the increasing difficulty that those doctors have even finding malpractice insurance, let alone affording it, the steady increase in the number and severity of TRAP laws ensures that the number of doctors who provide abortion care will continue to diminish every year.

Texas has become notorious for the virulence of its right-wing fanaticism; I don't call our state capitol the Reichstag on the Brazos for nothing.  But compared to those of several other states, even Texas' TRAP laws look almost moderate.  It won't matter as much that Roe survives after the providers are gone.  

If you are one of the few remaining physicians dedicated, courageous and downright stubborn enough to still be providing abortion care - or if you're someone like me, for whom risk management for such terribly vulnerable doctors has become a way of life -- all of this is part of what passes through your mind every time you hear someone invoke the now-iconic "Safe, Legal and ... Rare."

Originally posted to moiv on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 06:53 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Black market (4.00)
    in RU487, that will be what we have left.

    Except of course for women of means and connections. They always get what they need.

    •  Isn't it (none)
      RU486? As in "Are you for eighty-sixing your pregnancy?" Or have they come out with a newer version?

      "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government" - Teddy Roosevelt

      by mrboma on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:50:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Moiv!! (4.00)
    I'm so glad you posted this! I was sorely tempted to, because it was so good. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
  •  Rare... (3.88)
    as in wiped off the face of the U-nited States.

    Terrific job. The issue of access is critical. As far as I  know, the ADA is the only civil rights legislation specifically targeted towards access. I was about to write that with Roe v Wade on life support, we don't have a chance in hell with legislation. But then I wondered--that works well for the other side, doesn't it? Keep us focused on the SCOTUS, and let the other stuff slip through.

    Almost 15 years later, I am STILL pissed at Bush I and his fucking gag order.

    "I still think politics is about who's getting screwed and who's doing the screwing." -Molly Ivins

    by hono lulu on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:50:29 PM PST

    •  Thanks (4.00)
      The CRR and ACLU both challenge this stuff when they have decent grounds, but so far they're not having much luck. The thing that makes it so hard to mount a viable challenge is that most states in a given federal court district wait for the first challenge to another state's TRAP law to be rejected by that court, and then slipstream in behind the already-upheld law by passing word-for-word copies in their own states. No muss, no fuss.

      For example, the Texas legislature follows Mississippi's lead, because both states lie within the Fifth District.  Mississppi -- where there is only one clinic left.

      And ahhhh, yes, the gag order. @$&#@# !!!  Does anyone know whether Frist has scheduled the promised debate on our own gag order yet?  Somehow I doubt that Pelosi's phone is ringing off the hook.

      •  I have learned so much from this diary (4.00)
        that I have stalked you all over the comments, giving you 4's everywhere I could. Recommended.

        Question: what can we do about this? I hasn't been a problem where I live since before roe v wade but the situation is obviously dire elsewhere. Perhaps you could point us to a state-by-state survey?

        Thanks.

      •  thanks for posting this (4.00)
        it would be interesting to compare these excessive regulations with the regulations for worker safety and chemical saftey in the same states to show where their priorities lie.  I am guessing, but since TX and LA are both big petrochemical states those regs are probably quite weak.

        -------- This space intentionally left blank --------

        by puppet10 on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:57:16 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is very good (4.00)
    My first thought upon reading about all the picayune barriers that are put in the way of abortion providers, was to say "I can't believe it."  But I can believe it.  

    Average Americans couldn't care less about these barriers, until the time comes when they are their daughter needs to have a safe, legal abortion and they have to drive 600 miles to find a provider.

    Anti-choicers that I know use the argument that abortion is profitable; that it is "big business" and that "abortionists" are in it for the money.

    What a load of shit that is.  The money is in Botox injections and breast lifts and gastric bypass surgery.  Keeping abortion safe is something you do because you believe in the cause.

    How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

    by getmeoutofdixie on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 07:58:30 PM PST

    •  "Picayune" (4.00)
      That's a great word that doesn't get used enough anymore.

      My first thought upon reading about all the picayune barriers that are put in the way of abortion providers, was to say "I can't believe it."  

      That's why I put all the links in -- because sometimes we can hardly believe it, either.  But the screws get turned a little tighter every year.

      Meanwhile, our fees have risen by only $25 in the last 12 years, and I won't bore you with how long it's been since any of us had a raise.  So much for "big business."

      You're so very right that people don't worry about it until it's their turn: "It will never happen to me."  And then, of course, it does.

      There are days when we remind me of Chief Dan George: "Endeavor to persevere."

    •  The mistake was in agreeing (4.00)
      that a medical procedure should be "legal,"--i.e. a matter that is regulated by law.

      Another mistake was in allowing the terminology for a natural process by which the body rids itself of an irritant to be applied to a medical intervention.

      One could argue that it is too late to change the verbiage now.  But I would disagree, especially since the verbiage being used does not accurately reflect reality.

      There is no-one who would argue in good faith that a projectile (such as a bullet), which has entered a body, should not be removed if its continued presence poses a threat, regardless of how purposeful the insertion of the projectile was. In the event such a projectile triggers the body to mobilize its natural defenses (commonly recognized as an infection), this response would not be considered a sufficient reason to leave the projectile in place in hopes that the problem will take care of itself.

      The intent of the assailant cannot be permitted to take precedence over the well-being of the assailed.  But that's not a matter of law.  That's just plain common sense.

      Of course, there are those who argue that because barbers are subject to strict regulation, those who perform medical procedures ought to be regulated as well.  What they overlook is that not even barbers are told what kind of scissors or how much pommade to use.  Never mind that barbers no longer perform the procedures that the antecedents of surgeons performed.  So that it's quite possible that the modern barber is over-regulated as well and that the enforcement of regulations may have more to do with restricting access to a trade, than the quality of the service being delivered.

  •  moiv (4.00)
    I almost missed your diary, feeling that I couldn't possibly bear to read about abortion tonight.
    Am so glad that I did read it.  Will read links tomorrow, and also start finding out what kind of awful ones we have here in Wisc.
    Thank you for such a great diary.
  •  anger . . .rising . . . (4.00)
    I get so angry when I read about insidious regulations such as these, that are targeted at only ONE group of medical practioners.  I inevitably get the urge to counter-legislate, and then I try to think of some comparable medical procedure that could be regulated to high heaven that would piss off the wingnuts--especially the men.

    What if vasectomies (sp?) and the medical professionals who performed them and the locations where they were performed were to be regulated in a similar way? Such as only being allowed to perform a vasectomy on Tuesdays and Thursdays while hopping on one foot? J/K

    I think, in order to make the point that ideology should not interfere with the practice of medicine or the dispensing of prescription drugs, we should target Viagra for some  regulations that would make it exceedingly difficult to obtain and use. Here are a few possibilities:

    1. Conscience Clause: Pharmacists can refuse to dispense Viagra due to their personal moral convictions that if God had wanted that man to be having sex, he wouldn't have rendered him impotent.

    2. Preserve Marriage Act: Married men near the age of mid-life crisis and over the age of 60 cannot be prescribed Viagra because it would enable them to satisfy a younger woman and thus encourage them to cheat on their wives.

    You get the idea.

    I have nothing against Viagra or sex, but I think raising such outrageous points might highlight how outrageous such targeted regulation really is, no matter what industry/medicine it applies to.

    •  Case in point (4.00)
      Since Mifeprex was introduced in 2001, over 400,000 women have used it safely.  There have been three deaths of women who had taken Mifeprex, in none of whom Mifeprex has been shown to be the actual cause of death.  

      What to do? Ban it.

      •  God (4.00)
        after all the European trials. After years of fighting the egregious FDA import alert. After dozens of clinical studies with thousands of women in over 20 countries, including France, Britain, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the U.S., Scandinavia, and the former Soviet Union. To date, RU 486 has been used by over 200,000 women in Europe alone.

        This. Bastards.

        •  Bastards??? (4.00)
          Tsk, tsk, such unwomanly language. How can you possibly say such a thing, when they're only trying to protect you from your own feminine impulsiveness?

          * gone to throw up now, in a quietly unobtrusive and ladylike manner *

          •  I spent so much time on this one (4.00)
            way back when. My first big professional crusade was getting the import alert lifted. Then Clinton came in, and just like that, it was done. Ten years later we're fighting the fucking battle all over again. I just can't take it sometimes.
            •  FACE (4.00)
              felt the same way... At least that hasn't been overturned or weakened yet - I'm in no hurry for replays of Wichita or Buffalo - but I fear that we're in for a return to those days as well.

              A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

              by wickerman26 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:45:28 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The FACE of violence (4.00)
                is being unmasked by the bankruptcy bill -- again. This time around the quotes are more colorful, and opposing violence is "smack(ing) pro-life people in the face."

                A bankruptcy bill pending before the Senate is about to provide a forum for the first abortion battle of the new Congress, and how it plays out could set the stage for much larger fights over abortion restrictions and judicial nominees, including perhaps a nominee to the Supreme Court.

                At issue is a proposed amendment intended to deny bankruptcy protection to protesters who use violence to shut down abortion clinics. The measure is expected to come up for a vote on Tuesday before a Senate with an expanded Republican majority that includes some of the most ardent abortion opponents in American politics.

                "This is the first major pro-choice amendment to come up in this Congress," said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, the author of the measure. "It's the first test of how difficult the fight to maintain choice is going to be."

                [snip]

                Mr. Schumer's measure grew out of a 1994 federal law that bans the use of force, threats or blockades to keep patients out of abortion clinics. The law allows clinics to sue protesters who block clinic doors, but some protesters have filed for bankruptcy to escape paying court-imposed fines. The amendment has previously passed the Senate, but in 2002, abortion opponents in the House doomed the entire bankruptcy bill rather than vote for it.

                Mr. Schumer responded by stripping language specific to abortion from the measure and broadening it to apply to any protester who uses violence. Now, the amendment's backers are trying to build support for it by insisting it is not about abortion.

                "That's how we hope to get the votes," said Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California.

                But the tactic is not going over well with abortion opponents. "It's just an obvious attempt to smack pro-life people in the face," Mr. DeMint said. "It's not a substantive bill; it's a political bill."

                Meanwhile, in Wichita AG Phil Kline is still trying to get his hands on the medical records of women who have had abortions, with the flimsy excuse that minor patients may have been victims of sexual abuse, even though no one has filed a complaint.  

                Since the Alan Guttmacher Institute's statistics show that 4 out of 5 pregnant minors in Kansas go on to become teenage mothers, I'm waiting for someone to ask Kline why he doesn't look at all the public birth records at his fingertips instead.

                •  how do the boys escape the wrath of kline? (4.00)
                  If the AG is really SOOOOO concerned about teenagers having sex (girls AND boys), then he should subpoena all teenage boys' 16 and under medical records if they have been prescribed Penicillin. Afterall, there is a very good chance that they were prescribed those antibiotics for chlamydia, gonnorhea, etc., thus indicating that they are indeed sexually active. And then Kline could prosecute accordingly.

                  Until something like this happens, I don't believe for one second that Kline's motivation is anything more than a femiphobic witch hunt.

                  When are we going to have a government-created/funded Committee to Prevent Vice and Promote Virtue? Ayatollah Kline needs to be shipped back to Afghanistan where he can feel at home with his ideological brethren--the TALIBAN!!

                •  I missed that bit w/ the bankruptcy bill (none)
                  though I don't know why I'm surprised - they never pass up an opportunity to push their agenda...

                  And we're the ones trying to force our views?

                  A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

                  by wickerman26 on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:21:55 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  But I really want the bankruptcy bill to fail (none)
                  I appreciate the tactic, if it stops people from voting for that horrible piece of legislation.

                  That doesn't do much for those threatened by the protesters though.

                  •  The Amendment Won't Go Anywhere (none)
                    The amendment will fail. There's no way there are enough votes to tack it on to the bankruptcy bill.

                    The only reason it'll be called for a vote is that it gets 'em on record in a roll call.

                    vote early - vote often

                    by wystler on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 10:12:07 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Whats the Matter with TRAP? (4.00)
    A fine post, moiv.  Thank you

    We're in a time warp here on kos. All the new-found enthusiam for showing how moderate we Democrats are, when moderate means looking the other way while women in rural america have to travel hundreds of miles, twice, to have access to an abortion provider. Twice because she has to submit to lectures about alternatives, waiting periods, or parental consent when the parent is the rapist. Moderate means not minding that our medical schools teach nothing about women's health issues.  Moderate means ignoring the insurance industry's refusal to include birth control in prescription drug coverage, while instantly covering Viagra. Moderate means pretending along with GW that the U.S. Delegate Ellen Sauerbray represents women when she insists that the United Nation's Conference on Women's Equality must find that women's access to abortion is the biggest health crisis affecting women in the world.

    The R's don't have to ban abortion, they just have to make is impracticable to obtain.  That's already happened in much of the country.  Safe, legal and rare.  I can see how we get to the rare part with this equation.  It's the safe and legal part that worries me.

    •  Side Step (4.00)
      while women in rural america have to travel hundreds of miles,...

      Did a little research a few years ago on tax-exemptions for hospitals.  IRS rules changed to remove "10% treat" requirement if there was another [public-funded] hospital w/in [x] miles.  Allowed "private-pay" hospitals to refuse indigent/uninsured.  

    •  Insurance coverage (none)
      I know that Georgetown's non-HMO (Kaiser) coverage does not include birth control for religious reasons, but do they cover Viagra?  It's possible that they don't.
  •  Painful (4.00)
    The suffering we cause and allow to be perpetrated when the society-government compact breaks down is nigh unbearable.

    In other words--all the things that if people were forced to confront, forced to make an active decision on, given fair knowledge, would be changed, but aren't because for various reasons people are able to ignore--amount to a betrayal of the goals of civilization.

    At least that's how I see it.

  •  Too bad (4.00)
    Freedom from capricious laws was not included in the Bill of Rights.  I wonder if the Framers ever considered such petulant behavior by a legislature to be within the realm of possibility.  They are shaming this country.

    The Republicans need a divided country. But we don't. --Big Dog

    by froggywomp on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:33:27 PM PST

    •  That's what there are for (4.00)
      Article [IX.]

      The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

      Article [X.]

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

      Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

      by mataliandy on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:44:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is slightly unfair (3.80)

    Not that I say slightly...

    It's unfair to try to imply a direct link between the "Safe, Legal, and Rare" position and these TRAP laws. You're essentially equating the moderate approach of "responsible" abortion policy with the deceptive practices of extremist anti-abortion groups. Your point that we should always be wary of endorsing a policy of regulation because it's open to rampant abuse, as you've demonstrated, is valid. But we have to be equally wary of the similar trap of endorsing zero regulation, which is an increasingly unpopular position in this country. Republicans are trying to hijack the language of a winning position for dems and drive them into the reactionay move of embracing a losing position.

    As Dean says, don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good.

    •  I doubt that anyone (4.00)
      would endorse the total lack of regulation on any kind of medical care, nor do I. All physicians and medical facilities are already subject to regulation, and that is as it should be.

      I don't believe I implied a direct link between a responsible regulation of medical care and any other agenda.  The connection between TRAP laws and the SL&R policy is indirect, as I believed that my use of "hidden" in the title made clear. If not, then I thank you for the opportunity of clarifying that.  

      However, although I'm not quite sure what you mean by "responsible abortion policy," there is no defensible rationale for a separate and draconian set of regulatory criteria applicable only to those health facilities that provide abortion care.  And there is certainly no possible justification for creating statutes establishing a set of criminal misdemeanors and felonies applicable only to doctors who provide abortion care, when they are doing so within the parameters of the laws that apply to all other physicians within that same legal jurisdiction.

      TRAP laws are not written and passed by "extremist anti-abortion groups" -- in which case safe and legal abortion would already be a thing of the past -- but by popularly elected legislators operating within the mainstream of Republican politics.

      None of likes it when our efforts to be both fair and fair-minded are subverted to the uses of the opposition, but in this case, that's just the way it is.

      •  You know (4.00)

        I'm sure many here consider the mainstream of Repubican politics extremist.

        I accept your point that these laws would never make it on the books with only fringe support. But I don't think it's absurd to assume that's where much of their genesis lies, and we know right-wing groups are adept at reframing extreme positions in ways that sound acceptable to some mainstream voters. The "death tax" issue was a perfect example of that.

        To be honest, I don't believe many here, if any, are actually pushing for no regulation, but many have a tendency to begin sounding that way in their fervor.

        At this point I'm mostly concerned about the war of perceptions, which we're losing. I just think it's a shame to abandon the SL&R language without more of a fight to define it on our own terms. I don't think it's as tainted as many here do, and if we can make it work it's a damn good sell politically. Republicans are expert at manipulating language and redefining terms, and it's time we learn to do the same.

        •  Keeping it real (4.00)
          "To be honest, I don't believe many here, if any, are actually pushing for no regulation, but many have a tendency to begin sounding that way in their fervor."

          It all can get pretty confusing when emotions run so high, but I think we're definitely in agreement here.  While I'll put my fervor up next to anybody's, what I favor is anything that prevents a return to the past that, to those of us who are old enough, seems like only yesterday.

          "54/40 or Fight," "Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too," or "Safe, Legal and Rare."

          Whatever works -- ANYTHING!

          •  pro-life = compusory pregnancy (none)
          •  Need to Rework the Rally Cry (none)
            "Safe, legal and rare" - thanks, moiv, for pointing out the gaping hole that too many of us (myself included) have repeated failed to pay sufficient mind. When they restrict access, the practical circumstance outweighs much.

            Reasonable minds can agree to disagree about some of the issues, but the harassment of providers, the lack of available services to too many communities, and the ham-handed regulations placed between a physician and patient by a paternalistic legislature, as well as the moralizing pronouncements of the pompous, have taken that four-word rally of the moderates, and taken every bit of ground.

            Perhaps we should go with "Accessible, Safe, Private, Legal and Rarely Necessary". (Accessible should be the first, rather than the missing, word.)

            vote early - vote often

            by wystler on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 10:25:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think when Democrats say (none)
              "Safe, Legal, and Rare," they usually do mean rarely necessary, not rare because of excessive regulation.

              To me, it is a matter of framing: I believe that we should have as little regulation on abortion as medically necessary (i.e. no parental consent laws, waiting periods, "PBA" bans, etc.), but that in order to market our views to the people, we have to make it clear that we want to do everything possible to prevent unwanted pregnancy in the first place--which is, or at least should be, what we want to do, and supposedly is what the anti-choicers want as well.

              That way, we can cover our asses, and no one will get the misimpression that we are "pro-abortion"--which almost no one is, despite the stereotypes the anti-choicers try to spread--and perhaps we can even compromise with some of the more reasonable anti-choicers to distribute birth control more widely, improve sex ed, fight poverty, etc.

              Democrats do it better on the Senate floor.

              by sparklegirl on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:22:58 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, safe, legal and rare (none)
                has taken on a whole new nuance after this excellent diary. I'd never seen it in the TRAP terms before, and Rare as is betcha-can't-find-a-place-to-get-it-done rare certainly isn't what I had in mind when I've heard the catchphrase.

                My new mantra may be "safe, legal, available and rare."

                Oh well, I wasn't using that civil liberty anyway.

                by think2004 on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 05:17:31 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I agree, in theory (none)
                  The problem is, phrases sound better in threes. It's just one of those rhetorical rules. So maybe "safe, legal, and rarely needed" could be the new phrase, but even that isn't so catchy. I think it's fine to keep the phrase "safe, legal, and rare" as long as we make it clear that it means rarely needed, now rare due to restrictions, and work to combat the root causes of unwanted pregnancy.

                  Democrats do it better on the Senate floor.

                  by sparklegirl on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 08:24:32 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  being careful (4.00)
      Yes, I don't doubt that the real agenda on the right is to outlaw abortion and put women who get pregnant out of wedlock on stocks to be pelted with apples. But it's not as if our agenda is to promote abortion to the exclusion of other methods of birth control, or force women who don't want to have abortions to have them (because then you'd get Japan or China)--at least I hope not.

      I realize that there is a great deal of justified suspicion because of the impulses of the Right (see above), but that shouldn't deter us from trying to do the "right thing"--not just throw babies out with bathwater (so to speak).

      Long way of saying that some on the Right might try to couple "safe legal and rare" with their own agenda of "unsafe, illegal, but still happening"--and we shouldn't let them. But NOT by running from "safe legal and rare"--either as a slogan or a viewpoint because I still firmly believe from a personal standpoint, not just a political one, that it's the right thing to do. And the fact that more "civilized" countries have lower abortion rates would seem to bear that out. I'm really tired of seeing people on the left run away from, and at times villify terms and ideas that on their own have merit--just because those terms have been coopted or tainted by the Right. That is a losing strategy and a wrong one. This is how we somehow became the faction that hates families, America, the military, hard work, responsibility, white men etc. etc.

      You think "safe, legal and rare" is going to be used as a smokescreen for something else? Well for goodness sake, stop that from happening. Point out that what's going on has nothing to do with "safe, legal and rare" as we conceive it. Safe legal and rare is just a slogan. Be more concrete on how WE want to make it happen.

      Abortions go up under Republicans. Business is better under Democrats. Pass it on.

      by JMS on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:13:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  safe legal rare and accessible? nt (4.00)
  •  Another cost. (4.00)
    It gets mentioned pretty frequently, but it can't be repeated too many times that another cost of isolating abortion in free-standing clinics is that protesters can target those clinics more easily than a hospital or OB/GYN's office where people are going in for all sorts of things.  I don't mean target by bombing or shooting, just by intimidating and harassing, by throwing up one more hurdle for both doctors and patients to get through.  

    I escorted at a clinic through college, and if you haven't seen it, you'll just have to believe me that a woman who's already made the tough choice to have an abortion does not need to have strangers screaming at her that "just months ago they took a woman out of here on a stretcher" (it was just months ago for the entire 5 years I was escorting at that clinic); that "they'll rip your organs out"; that abortion is contributing to genocide against black people.  She doesn't need to have a plastic fetus jammed into her face.  She doesn't need to have to walk past old men speculating loudly about her sex life.  And all this was fairly tame as these things can go - there were only usually about 6-12 protesters at a time, there was a line they couldn't go inside, there were more than enough escorts.  

    By physically separating abortion out from other procedures, they've made it easier to identify and harass the women seeking it.  And that puts one more kind of pressure on women who've already had to jump through all these bullshit legal hoops.  It makes it one bit more likely she'll back out, and possibly have to go through part of the bullshit again.

    •  can I ask (4.00)
      I escorted at a clinic through college

      where?

      You don't have to answer if you don't want to - I've had my own picture on one of the "Nuremburg Files"-lite websites: Who Are These Deathscorts? I'll totally understand if I don't get a reply...

      A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

      by wickerman26 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 10:43:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nah, s'ok. (4.00)
        Bridgeport, Connecticut - not a hotbed of really violent protest, and the fact that it was relatively low-key really drove home what it must be like at a clinic that's under hard-core protest.  (I went to Wesleyan.)
        •  Funny though... (4.00)
          ...they all sound the same, no matter where I've escorted: "A few months ago, they had to call 911..."; "You're killing your race"; "You'll never be able to have children"; "You'll never be able to love any children you have". One of my all-time favorites? "Black babies can be beautiful, too..." WTF? Excuse me?

          And trust me - you don't want high-key, relative or otherwise ;-)

          I'm glad that I'm currently in a place where I don't have to escort any more, but I would do it again in an instant.

          A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

          by wickerman26 on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 11:07:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    Thank you so much for writing this diary.  I am fortunate enough to live in a blue state and have always lived in a county with an abortion provider, and there was a time when I needed that availability.  It has been too easy for me, living here, to take access for granted.  Thank you for the reminder that access is being removed bit by bit in so many other areas. This is something that I've been aware of and yet have for lazy reasons not been involved enough in.  You've inspired me to get out and DO something about it (NARAL, here I come.  A lapel pin isn't going to cut it anymore).  If you have any other suggestions for activism, I would certainly like to hear them.  Thank you, also, for the work that you do.  Sorry if this has been a bit rambling and incoherent... it's late and I just happened to see this during my nightly pre-bedtime Kos fix. :)
  •  Add (4.00)
    proposed legislation to require abortion clinics to be licensed and regulated by the State Department of Health as an abulatory surgical center, with all the requirements of an ASC.  That one's pending here in Indiana, and would make a clinic have an ambulance on standby at the facility, and a whole bunch of other requirements that would legislate them out of existence.  And here's the kicker- they must comply with all State Department of Health regulations by July 1, except the regs haven't been written yet, and won't be by then.  So what does this mean?  They have to close until there are regs in place.  And how long do you think that will take under a Republican Governor?  How about his entire term?

    Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

    by dhonig on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:39:43 AM PST

    •  In Louisiana (none)
      abortion-providing clinics were licensed for the first time last year, and much the same thing happened.  The licensing rules hadn't been finalized yet when the designated inspection date rolled around, but the inspectors proceeded anyway -- illegally using the rules for ASCs.

      Your Indiana situation sounds the same as Louisiana's, but "up one level."  I hope to God the bill doesn't pass, but if it does, the inspectors are likely to walk in with the rules for fully accredited hospitals.

      •  Democratic walk-out (none)
        the Democrats here walked out, depriving the legislature of the quorum necessary to consider new bills the day of the deadline.  Unfortunately, it looks like this one will probably be added back as an amendment to some other bill.  the fight here is VERY hard, and we're losing at the moment.  The occasional win is a blessing, but we can't kid ourselves, we're standing in front of a bulldozer.

        Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

        by dhonig on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:59:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (4.00)
    More physicians have to focus on being liberal libertarians, interested in practicing their trade and providing health options to patients.
    Too many are focused on simple libertarianism concerned with civil torts only.

    I'm always happy when someone above me on the ladder is looking in the same direction as I am.
    It gives me hope that I can stay true to myself as I get older.

    The Right LOVES squashing civil torts, because it allows a greater vacuum for them to step in.
    Civil torts have their flaws, and they need some reform ... but it should be with pre-trial expert panels talking about standard of care and junk cases, not blanket damage caps.

  •  MS here. (4.00)
    Same thing, rare is rare because it has been regulated to death.  There is one clinic in the state, in Jackson.

    I am of the opinion that another argument/approach will work better in the South, but I could be wrong. Quite frankly, talking about womens bodies, and womens rights means nothing, women have no "rights".  So the argument needs to go out to men.  

     Why should husbands have to support the child of a rapist?  Does the rapist get visitation after he leaves prison?  How is this good for families, and marriages?  

    When a women is raped/molested/exploited it is also an attack on the privacy of the home, family.  

    What about child molestors, do they get visitation while the mother lives in her fathers house?

    We need to couch this in terms of an assault on the choice of men.  They need to realize they may have to choose between their sick wife and a developing fetus.  

     Theycould maybe put clinics offshore in the South as the casino industry has done to get around state legislation.  Prior to the casinos they had these gambling halls on docks, out over the gulf, and the mississippi, and they would get busted time and again, but never got a conviction because the laws against gambling didn't cover contiguous waters. Eventually, they just went ahead and developed a floatilla of casinos.

    Every Republican I know has their own personal "exceptions" for abortion.  I always ask them who is going to be put in charge of deciding who gets one and who doesn't, and why can't anyone trust me to decide?

    Why should a fetus rights trump my own?

  •  Thanks (4.00)
    for lifting the curtain.  I get so energy sapped sometimes: once you lift the curtain on one issue, it's hard to resist the awful compulsion that leads to pulling back the next.  I'm compounding metaphors, but it's like being unwilling to lift a rock that you know has all sorts of creepy stuff under it.
  •  Abortion "rights" = wrong frame (4.00)
    Wealthy Rethugs (hypocritical bastards) DO believe in abortion "rights" for themselves and their daughters, but not for you.

    Just another example of "sharecropper society"

    If the daughter of a Fortune 500 executives gets pregnant, she WILL have access to safe chemical abortion, and surgical abortion (if needed) as part of a family trip to Europe.

    Then, the family will donate $5000 to some mega-church to preach the "pro-Life" message.

    Advocacy of "abortion rights" misses the frame because the Rethug power brokers already believe in safe, effective abortion. Just not for YOU!

  •  Why is the child *never* considered? (none)
    Why do we not talk about our children deserving a welcoming, loving world on their arrival?  To parents (1, 2, or even a community) ready, willing and able to help them grow up healthy and wise?  A woman considering a pregnancy in youth, or when she knows that a new life cannot be started and lived well is facing a very difficult and harsh decision. Why don't the "pro-lifers" think about the lives of the real children who are brought into a world that will almost certainly be extremely challenging, if not genuinely unhealthy for them?

    I have always wondered why they choose lives of pain and rejection for human beings brought into a world that is not prepared for them?

    Life does not end at birth.

  •  Great points here... (4.00)
    ...and thanks for bringing up an often overlooked aspect of this issue. Over ten years ago, Mark Crutcher of Life Dynamics Inc. was traveling around the country doing seminars on stopping abortion, and this was one of his themes. To paraphrase, "if we can't shut the clinics down, we can regulate them out of existance." Some even referred to the tactic as "Crutcherization".

    I think it's a valid point that we don't want to appear to favor a completely unregulated medical practice, and it's important to educate the public that abortion providers already are subject to the same regulations as any other comparable medical practice.

    When these laws come up in the legislatures, if they can't be defeated, amendments should be added to make them apply to the full range of comparable out-patient services. "Poison pills", if you will, since the medical lobbyists would never stand for it, and the bills would undoubtedly be voted down.

  •  This is EXACTLY Why (4.00)
    I've been pushing people so hard to take local action.  I posted one diary some people found rather offensive due to language, but in effect (once you got past the language) it challenged people to ACT, rather than gripe or, even worse, surrender.  F'in Abortion Surrender Monkeys.

    In it you'll find several suggestions for national and local action.

    One other thing you will find is a suggestion for a meme far different from "safe, legal, and rare," which I despise. Instead, it is "privacy."  Simple as that.  After all, the anti-abortionists are going after EVERYTHING- birth control, medical privacy, family planning, etc.  We need to fight this, not on the ground they pick, but the ground we pick.

    moiv wrote a wonderful diary pointing out where the REAL attack is, and the risks of "safe, legal and rare."  Thank you.  One of the things I related in my earlier diary was action actually taken here in Indiana to fight the TRAP trend.  Here it is again, I hope many will emulate:


    Join your local coalition.  My wife and I not only joined the state Pro-Choice Coalition, we were involved in persuading them to change their name to the Health Access and Privacy Alliance.  Why?  To emphasize that there are a LOT of issues at risk other than abortion, including birth control.  Did you know many states now are proposing laws allowing retailers (not just drug stores, but all retailers- no condoms at the Quick-E-Mart) to refuse to sell ANY birth control?  Or to define "viablity" at 20 weeks?  Or to define "life" at conception- goodbye IUD, pill, morning after pill, condoms or babies, those are your choices.

    Participate locally.  If your legislature is in session, see what antiabortion bills are pending in committee, then offer your expertise, or find experts, to testify. We did that, with the following result:

    The issue was not directly on abortion, but DID have to do with women's health care, and the conservatives' attempts to criminalize anything which could hurt a fetus, in a move toward identifying it as a person.  Here's part of the letter from the Alliance:

    Last night HB 1755 died in the Public Policy and Veterans Affairs Committee when Chairman Bob Alderman declined to hold a vote on this bill which would have made it a felony for a woman to use drugs while pregnant. Two Republican members of the committee, Dave Frizzell and Cleo Duncan, joined Democrats Bob Kuzman, Vanessa Summers, David Crooks, and Scott Pelath in expressing concerns about the bill. Testimony from treatment program directors and representatives of health organizations, along with the phone calls and messages your members sent to committee members, overcame some legislators' insistence that the bill be passed out of committee and "fixed" later. The bill was good in that it served as a vehicle for educating legislators that the problem is real and that the solution is treatment, not punishment. A number of legislators and organizational representatives left the meeting resolving to working together on a bill for next session.

    This is a VERY red state right now, and every little victory is a huge relief.  Look to the diary above, and all the other and greater wisdom elsewhere in Kosland, for ways we can all make a difference in real life.

    We also took it upon ourselves to find doctors willing to speak about the absurdity of the legislature defininig fetal viability at 20 weeks, and while it got out of committee, now it might not pass.

    To keep up the good fight we must each join the good fight.

    Follow the money. It leads to the truth.

    by dhonig on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:34:51 AM PST

  •  Unconstitutional laws (none)
    If laws are not applied equally courts generally find them unconstitutional. As in your examples of nitrous and documenting vitals, I.E. to apply them to abortion and not oral surgery or trauma. Litigation could chip away at some of these dastardly regulations. Or at least involve the rest of the medical community. If the rest of the profession was held to the same standard they would scream thier heads off and you may find an ally.
    •  How touching that you trust the courts (4.00)
      Since the conservatives have corrupted the courts just as they've corrupted every other aspect of society they've touched, I don't think we can rely on courts to uphold the Constitution or administer justice.  There are always threadbare rationales judges use to cloak their prejudices in a veneer of "legal" respectability.  This happens from the lowliest county court to the USSC.  

      It would be nice if we could still rely on the courts to throw out these punitive, discriminatory regulations, but in a country that enforced Dred Scott and Plessy, it's not to be counted on.

      You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

      by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:34:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm not suggesting you rely... (none)
        entirely on the court. What I suggested is that you involve the rest of your profession in your endeavor AS WELL. If you can not receive the support of your own professional community......
         I'm also sorry you so distrust the courts. The same courts that have ruled recently on legal issues such as gay marriage and juvenile execution, in favor of the LEFT I might add. You may have no other choice in the long run other than to turn to the courts. What the right will accomplish in deconstruction in the next 3 1/2 years will be nothing short of astounding. Our only hope may lie in the court.
         I'm not trying to slam you as you did me in your reply. I'm only offering you my support and constructive thought. It's easy to get 4's slapping someone around.
  •  No Red states (4.00)
    -- is what I told my teenage daughter, who is starting to look at colleges. Ohio has some damn fine schools, but I don't know if it's going to make the cut. Fortunately (though by no coincidence) most of the best colleges are concentrated in the Blue states.

    I think it is actively irresponsible to plan on sending one's daughter to live in a state where she might not be able to get the health care she needs.

    I don't know if "no sensible person would go to college here" is likely to change any red-stater's mind, though; I cynically expect they'd be proud of it.

    If I can't dance, it's not my revolution. -- Emma Goldman.

    by DoctorScience on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 06:58:10 AM PST

    •  A plea for Ohio (none)
      I went to school in Massachusetts where I was born and bred, and in terms of politics we felt useless.  So Ohio is swing, and if she'll be a college student in 2008, she may be able to help swing it blue.

      Of course, in the main she should just decide where she wants to go to college based on academic considerations, but don't knock Ohio just yet.

      •  But are women's rights safe in Ohio? (none)
        I agree she might make more of a difference in Ohio than in Mass., but will her access to health care be restricted?

        If I can't dance, it's not my revolution. -- Emma Goldman.

        by DoctorScience on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 09:46:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not really (none)
          From Planned Parenthood of Ohio

          Pharmacy Refusal Clause: HOUSE BILL 68
          Introduced: February 18, 2003
          Status: Pending in the Ohio House of Representatives
          I'm sure they'd find a way to apply this to birth control...

          Would give pharmacists the option of not dispensing prescribed medication that might bring about an abortion or the termination of life.

          Contraceptive Equity: SENATE BILL 194    
          Introduced: June 8, 2004
          Status: Awaiting committee assignment in Ohio Senate

          Would require certain sickness and accident insurance policies, public employee benefit plans and health insuring corporation policies, contracts and agreements to provide coverage for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices and outpatient services related to the provision of such drugs and services.

          "Choose Life" License Plates: HOUSE BILL 129
          Introduced: March 18, 2003
          Status: Pending in Ohio Senate

          Would create "Choose Life" license plates and the "Choose Life" fund and would provide that moneys in the fund be used by the Director of Health to fund eligible private, nonprofit organizations that provide services to pregnant women who are planning to place their children for adoption.

          Cervical Cancer Coverage: HOUSE BILL 519
          Introduced: June 8, 2004
          Status: Pending in the House Insurance Committee

          Would require certain insurance policies to extend coverage to newer forms of screening for cervical cancer detection.

          Mifepristone: HOUSE BILL 126    
          Effective September 23, 2004

          Adopts federal Food & Drug Administration rules on the use of RU-486 (mifepristone) although opponents also suggest that the bill may require doctors to prescribe 3 times the needed dosage of mifepristone to their patients - thus tripling the cost of medical abortion in Ohio.

          2004 State Budget Bill: HOUSE BILL 95    
          Effective July 1, 2003

          The family planning services earmark was removed from the state budget bill in a substitute version that was presented to the House Finance and Appropriations Committee.

          And I have heard that there is an bil on the books to make abortion illegal the second Roe v. Wade is overturned.

          Visit my blog Ohio Watch, dedicated to stopping the insanity that is the Ohio Legislature.

          by The Ticked Off Ohioan on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 10:57:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks moiv... (none)
    I learned so much!

    Is there another prong we can use? Aren't there some of the same risks invovled in in vitro -- after all, the fertilized eggs can't really be frozen forever, so they are destroyed eventually. Isn't there a flanking attack someone could mount regarding the fertility industry that would beat back some of this?

    Or, perhaps it's getting time to pull a big old Lysistrata action -- no sex until there's no more war on our bodies and no more war on the ground.

  •  Gag rules (4.00)
    Brilliant post, moiv.  You've definitely taught me a lot about the obstacles abortion providers faced:  I knew about some of this in general terms, but had no idea of the extent of the barriers abortion providers faced.

    One small contribution I'd like to make from the standpoint of a provider, is to mention the pernicious effect of gag rules on the provider-patient relationship.  Where the state or the hospital system prevents a provider from giving full information to a patient, or forecloses options which might be presented as reasonable options for the patient to consider, the provider is put in a position of essentially lying to his or her patient.  This creates a cognitive dissonance for the provider, which I find (in other areas) very difficult to square with my vision of what I'm supposed to do as a provider.  

    I think it also creates a mistrust and a distancing from the provider on the patient's part, as the confidentiality and candor which should rule in the exam room is broken by extrinsic considerations which should not play a role.  The honest, trusting relationship which is at the very heart of the healing arts is damaged, sometimes beyond repair.

    How can a provider treat a patient well, when honesty and trust are missing?  It can't be done.  One more cost of the imposition of a religious agenda on a therapeutic relationship.

    You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

    by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:40:43 AM PST

    •  hey Dallasdoc (none)
      Thanks for weighing in on this diary, too. I held off on writing one because I wanted you to be around when I posted, then moiv sent me this great response to my original e-mail. It said so much more than I could. Anyway, thanks for your help!
      •  Better late than never, I guess (4.00)
        Had a home computer crash, and was away the weekend, so I'm late to the party as usual.  Kudos to you too, Joan, for getting this ball rolling.  I've learned more here than in most of the usual abortion rehashes.  We certainly need to expand the debate, and to bring some sense of the suffering of the born as well as the unborn to this discussion.

        You can never be too rich, too thin, or too cynical.

        by Dallasdoc on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 11:52:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  weakness v autonomy (none)
    the left's image of woman as autonomous and free decisionmaker is not very close to reality in the abortion situation.  the anti-abortion folks know that many facing the abortion decision are  poor uneducated isolated and vulnerable, and thus these TRAP laws are just enough to take away the "right" to abortion for many pregnant women.  

    I don't know why folks on the left don't reflect reality more on this issue.  

  •  mississippi (4.00)
    Your excellent diary reminded me of an article I read in The Nation a while back that fortunately is posted on their website.  It's about how Mississippi has effectively outlawed abortion through the "TRAP" strategy you describe.
  •  The TRAP (4.00)
    On the issue of choice for rich versus poor women, a charity a person might want to look at is:

    National Advocates for Pregnant Women
    http://advocatesforpregnantwomen.org/

    The first two paragraphs of their web site:

    NAPW has a vision of a world where women enjoy full personhood and where neither pregnancy nor drug use serve as an excuse to dehumanize and punish select groups of people. Our mission is to secure the human and civil rights, health, and welfare of pregnant and parenting women while protecting children from punitive and misguided state policies. We advocate on behalf of all women, especially those who are most marginalized: women of color, low-income women, and women who use drugs.

    NAPW uses a variety of strategies, from litigation and public education to organizing on the local and national level, to ensure that:

        * Women do not lose their constitutional and human rights as a result of pregnancy

        * Pregnant and parenting women have access to a full range of reproductive health services, as well as non-punitive drug treatment services

        * Children are not needlessly and traumatically separated from their families on the basis of medical misinformation or prejudice

        * A woman's right to choose is not compromised or taken away altogether as a result of legislative efforts or so-called "fetal rights"-based laws or litigation

  •  Where are the true Christians? (none)
    God is not a Christian. Christianity is merely a way of understanding God - a way which has diverged in practice far from the message of the Christ.

    For God, quantity of life is nothing, quality of life is everything. God favors less quantity when it makes for greater quality. Christ too favored quality, insisting that the first goal of his followers should be to increase the quality of the lives of the poor - not the number of poor! True followers of Christ will recognize that the TRAPists are in league with Satan, working to increase the number of souls in Hell. What else is accomplished when women's bodies are hijacked and forced to bear children into environments with a high likelihood that those children will have miserable, criminal lives? Those who work to increase the measure of misery and criminality in the world, aren't they, as surely as the criminals, bound for Hell if there is one? Wouldn't real Christians renounce the anti-abortionists for the Satanic fellow-travellers they are?

  •  I want to point out two things (none)
    First, next time any Republican starts whining about high medical insurance costs for doctors, ask them what they think about TRAP laws.  Do they support adding unneccsesary red tape and extensive legal fees to woman's health clinics?

    Second, I want to remind people that an individual who uses fear, threats of violence and acts of violence force their views on another is not a protestor.

    They are not a thug.

    They are not a criminal.

    They are a terrorist.

    That's what the word means, using terror as a means to a political end.

    I'm modestly pro-life myself, but if you're screaming death threats at a woman outside a clinic, you are a terrorist.  End of discussion.

    Oh, and one last request:  Could we stop with the anti-choice / anti-life bullshit?  I'm all for hitting hard in terms of political debate, but that's just playground name-calling.

    Honor. Dignity. French Fries.

    by PotatoNinja on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 02:17:34 PM PST

    •  So what names do you prefer? (none)
      There really aren't any labels for these positions that are free from political connotation.

      Democrats do it better on the Senate floor.

      by sparklegirl on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:29:06 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  How about (none)
        Pro-life and pro-choice, which accurately describes both positions.

        Honor. Dignity. French Fries.

        by PotatoNinja on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:31:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Eh... (none)
          I just don't think all "pro-lifers" are actually that pro-life. When they support the death penalty, the ruination of the social safety net, and sending young people to die in unnecessary wars, that's not very "pro-life."

          Whereas people who consider themselves "pro-choice" see the fetus as a potential life, and believe that the most important thing is protecting the life, health, and medical privacy of the mother, who is an actual life, is paramount. Therefore, we are also "pro-life" in a sense.

          I guess we could say for or against reproductive rights, but that's a mouthful. Really, it's just such a controversial issue that there's no way to put it that won't offend anyone, but one side is going to keep calling itself pro-choice and the other will keep calling itself pro-life, so I guess there's not much anyone can do...

          Democrats do it better on the Senate floor.

          by sparklegirl on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 03:37:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  It's, simply, (none)
          pro-choice and anti-choice.  People that support the death penalty and an unjustified war can hardly be called pro-life.

          Speaking the truth in times of universal deceit is a revolutionary act. - Orwell

          by TracieLynn on Tue Mar 08, 2005 at 07:57:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  At the end of the day (none)
    This was my first diary, and your thoughtful and caring responses mean more than I can say.

    Thanks to all of you who took the time to read it, and who always take the time to care.

    Thank you, each and every one.

  •  Head up from "This Week in Fascism" (none)
         I have a policy of letting diary authors know what I said about their diaries in my series on This Week in Fascism 03-10-05 [Time to do Something]

         Come on over and let me know what you think about my comments. I also remind the Authors that I probably recommended their diaries and am consistantly the top recommended each week. Hint! Hint!

         without further ado here is what I said.

         Moiv let everyone know about The hidden TRAP behind "Safe, Legal and Rare." The trap is that it allows for excessive and repressive regulation of women's service providers that are meant to harass and intimidate both the staff and the patients. We have to be active in preventing these outrages.

    "It's about the accountability, stupid." Thomas Davis 2005

    by Tomtech on Thu Mar 10, 2005 at 07:28:31 PM PST

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