Reducing Abortion through Regulations on Abortion Providers


Abortions at two Kentucky abortion facilities decreased dramatically after Kentucky’s pro-life informed consent law took effect 11 months ago, the abortion facility’s administrator said Wednesday at a Kentucky state senate committee hearing.

There were 3,057 abortions performed last year, down from 3,828 the year before, at EMW Women’s Surgical Center abortion facility in Louisville, Executive Director Dona Wells said. About a third of the year’s total – 1,015 – occurred in the first quarter of 2001. Then the pro-life law took effect, and abortions declined to 714 in the second quarter, Ms. Wells told the Health and Welfare Committee.

There were audible gasps from the audience, which included pro-life and abortion advocates, then a smattering of applause when Wells announced the decrease in abortions. “It became very clear to us that women were being precluded” from getting abortions, she said.

She said in an interview afterward that abortions also declined at her second location, EMW Women’s Clinic abortion facility in Lexington, which is not licensed for use of general anesthesia and does only first-trimester abortions. Wells said she did not have figures for Lexington, but the rate of decline was comparable to that in Louisville.

The news came during a Kentucky senate committee hearing on a pro-life bill by Sen. Katie Stine, R-Fort Thomas, to add a restriction to the 1998 law that requires a woman to have counseling before getting an abortion. The Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure ruled in October that counseling could be done by telephone. Stine’s bill would require a face-to-face meeting.

“Over the phone is not good enough,” Ms. Stine said. That “could be interpreted as a prerecorded message.”


If abortionists were actually held accountable for screening of patients and ensuring that a woman’s consent to an abortion is truly free and informed, they would go out of business. In order to fashion an effective pro-life strategy for the future, pro-life leaders must fully understand the opportunities which the Supreme Court has given us to make abortionists accountable for their actions.

In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court demonstrated that it was still hostile to laws which would directly protect the rights of the unborn child. But at the same time, the Court approved abortion regulations which are principally intended to protect the rights of the women as patients.


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The National Abortion Federation’s position on Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providersn (TRAP):

In 2006, Pennsylvania passed a law making health care providers who perform more than 100 abortions a year subject to specific regulations regarding patient safety, and imposed a fee on these providers comparable to an ambulatory surgical facility. South Dakota also mandated new licensing requirements for abortion providers and authorized the state department of health to develop specific standards for these facilities.

What They Do

The regulations imposed by TRAP bills can include various structural requirements, such as specifications for the janitors’ closets, hallway width and height, lawn care standards, or excessive staffing requirements. The bills often establish new licensing requirements for abortion clinics, subjecting clinics to heavy fees and regular inspections of facilities and records by the state, sometimes without adequate safeguards to protect patient privacy.

TRAP bills are measures calculated to chip away at abortion access through the guise of legitimate regulation. These pieces of legislation often single out abortion clinics for special regulations that similar medical facilities are not subjected to. Some TRAP bills redefine abortion clinics as hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers. By doing so, such bills subject abortion clinics to stringent regulations which are inappropriate and unnecessary for outpatient facilities.

Dangers Of TRAP Bills:

TRAP bills are often introduced by abortion opponents who claim that abortion is an unsafe and unregulated procedure. By implying that abortion clinics are uniquely dangerous and in need of special regulation, such bills recklessly promote an unfounded fear of abortion.

Abortion is, in fact, one of the safest medical procedures in the United States. Complications from having an abortion in the first three months of pregnancy are considerably less frequent and less serious than those associated with giving birth.

The onerous requirements imposed by TRAP bills are also unnecessary because abortion clinics are already highly regulated. Clinics are already required to comply with numerous safety requirements, including federal CLIA and OSHA requirements, as well as local building and fire codes. Additionally, to ensure the highest standards of care in abortion clinics, NAF has established Clinical Policy Guidelines, with which all NAF members comply.

By redefining and imposing unnecessary and burdensome regulations on clinics that are irrelevant to the functionality and safety of abortion practice, the passage of TRAP bills can result in clinics being closed to women seeking reproductive health care.

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