By Erica Hellerstein
On a mild afternoon last April, Randy Grau, a Republican representative from Edmond Oklahoma, took to the state House to argue in favor of Senate Bill 1848.
The bill, later signed into law, regulates standards for abortion centers and requires abortion providers to obtain nearby hospital admitting privileges. Clad in a crisp white dress shirt and light blue tie, Grau, a co-sponsor of the bill, turned to his peers and inhaled sharply: “On an unassuming street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, tucked in among houses, churches, little shops, right next to an elementary school, a building went by the name of the women’s medical society. Inside that women’s medical society, run by Dr. Kermit Gosnell, could only be described as a house of horrors.” He paused and cast his eyes to the floor before cataloging the conditions at Gosnell’s now-notorious Philadelphia abortion clinic: dirty equipment, blood-splattered floors, and untrained staff administering anesthetics.
TRAP laws are designed to make as difficult as possible for women to access legal abortion services even though the procedure is still federally protected. They are dangerous precisely because they’re meant to sound reasonable, says Susan Berke Fogel, the Director of Reproductive Health at the National Health Law Program. “How many people really understand what it means to have hospital admitting privileges? Most people think, ‘that’s a very standard thing,’ and if a doctor has admitting privileges that that is somehow a mark of professionalism. Instead, it’s very common for doctors not to have admitting privileges at any particular hospital.” Read the full article here. »