In case you missed the latest news coming out of Maryland, I have a breakdown of this recycled attack coming from the right under the guises of health and safety. Once again anti-choice proponents have levied an attack on the clinics filling the much needed role of providers of complete reproductive health for women given that hospitals across the country no longer can be counted on in this capacity. So what are they trying to pull now? Chances are, you will recognize the tactic, as they have attempted this in the past on a grander scale. Perhaps that defeat did not cause them to see the errors of their thinking on this issue, as much as it did just make them retreat for a time until the publics mind was elsewhere when they could relapse and try again on a smaller, one community at a time, kind of approach.
The story, as reported by Change.Orgs Womens Rights blog:
Delegates Adelaide C. Eckardt and Pamela Beidle have… introduced a bill requiring abortion providers to be regulated as surgical centers. Senator Nancy Jacobs plans to introduce a similar bill in the State Senate.
Surgical centers are held to tougher requirements than clinics and doctors offices, where 95% of abortions are performed, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Surgical centers must have wider doors and hallways, and specialized medical equipment, like ventilators, that are not required at clinics. According to John Nugent, President of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, few (if any) of the 41 abortion providers in the state have the financial means to implement such medically unnecessary changes. Probably because they’re spending their money, you know, treating their patients.
So what is this really about? Is it about the patient as the dressing of the bills would have us believe? In this case, it is only about the patient in so much as they are attempting to keep the patients from having access to abortions. By enforcing unnecessary regulations like these, anti-choice advocates are attempting to find a way to sneak their agendas in through the back door without anyone paying attention to their true motivations. This has nothing to do with the patient experience or well being. It is simply about shutting down as many clinics as possible through their inability to finance the reconstruction these new regulations would demand. If you think that I am just being paranoid, just look a little deeper.
Similar bills in prior legislative session have failed, but legislators and advocates believe these bills have a stronger chance this time, in part because Dr. LeRoy Carhart began practicing in Maryland in December. After the murder of Dr. George Tiller, Dr. Carhart is one of the few remaining late-term abortion providers in the country.
Perhaps it is the cynic within, but when I hear things like this, I cannot help but see any motivations behind the actions of these delegates other than to shut down a clinic that stands as a target to the anti movement. Especially when they are not seeking to regulate plastic surgeons and other health care providers with this legislation as well. Which is understandable, given that said accompanying regulation on other providers is what stopped these kinds of legislative attacks in the past.
The hallway extension to 12ft. that clinics would have to comply with, is one of the unnecessary additions being called for. Presumably, surgical centers are required to have such large hallways because they have to have room for multiple gurneys to go through the hall at once, or to turn around, etc. But that is not necessary in these clinics and our delegates should be better informed about what is needed in the clinics before they attempt to regulate them. Especially when their acts will knowingly limit access to the services that women can get from these clinics that no other health care providers offer.
In short, this is an underhanded attempt to revive a failed attack from the right and hopefully the public will see it for what it is. Sad. Unnecessary. And a move that has already been rejected in the past. Perhaps our side should take comfort in this act, and see this recycling as a sign that they are scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel of ideas. A sign that they are running on empty.