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THREATS TO ABORTION RIGHTS/TRAP Bills


Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) bills single out abortion clinics for unnecessary, politically motivated, restrictive regulations.

> Read NAF's fact sheet on TRAP bills

Examples

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. Read NAF's 2003 Supreme Court amicus brief challenging similar TRAP regulations in South Carolina (PDF file, 191K).

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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