Senate Bill 371, currently passing easily through the various stages of the legislative process, requires facilities that dispense abortion-inducing drugs to meet all the structural and operational specifications of facilities that provide surgical abortions. In other words, in order for a clinic to prescribe or supply a pill to induce a very early abortion, its facilities must rival those of a hospital or surgical center.
SB 371 also requires the physician providing such a prescription to provide the patient with materials–colors specified!–oversee ultrasound imaging, and document efforts to have the woman return in two weeks for a follow-up examination and ultrasound.
This bill has nothing to with women’s safety. It has everything to do with limiting the availability of safe and legal abortion. As a side effect, it also limits the availability of all reproductive health care for low-income women. Note the language: it applies only to “clinics.” None of the standards in SB 371 apply to private physicians who dispense abortion-inducing drugs.
The restrictions apply only to “clinics”–read, Planned Parenthood– that provide health care at low cost.
Medication abortion is a safe, early-stage procedure. SB 371 is an unwarranted interference with the doctor-patient relationship, not to mention an unconstitutional effort to deny some women but not others access to reproductive health services by forcing the closure of the clinics that serve them. This measure is yet another salvo in the GOP’s ongoing war on Planned Parenthood. and a woman’s right to make her own moral decisions.
On the other hand, the perennially cash-strapped ACLU can use the legal fees that will be generated when it wins the inevitable legal challenge. So I suppose there is a bright side to everything.