Currently, The Center for Reproductive Rights is defending a case on behalf of Whole Woman’s Health in the Supreme Court. This is the biggest and most significant case for reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade in 1973 which legalized abortion federally. The decision of this case will make or break what few abortion clinics are left as it is discussing the standards clinics must meet. While the nature of the case sounds reasonable at first—“of course abortion clinics should adhere to high standards”, this is not what they actually mean. The new requirements that clinics would have to follow are entirely unnecessary and impose a serious financial burden on the facilities. One of the criteria a clinic would have to meet if the law is passed is that it must meet surgical ambulatory regulations. This means that every abortion clinic will have to have their facility meeting hospital standards. Abortion clinics, are just that: clinics. They are outpatient facilities and it is due to this that makes them easily accessible and reasonably priced. If abortion providers are forced to make their clinics meet the standards that hospitals are held to, it would put them out of business due to the extremely expensive costs to maintain that status.
The case is also fighting to require abortion providers to have hospital admitting privileges. This aspect will also be burdensome as it will require qualified doctors who regularly perform abortions to obtain the privilege to admit patients into a hospital. Again, that doesn’t sound so bad, however, most people do not know the immense struggle a doctor must face to receive that privilege.
If Whole Woman’s Health does not win this lawsuit, abortion clinics all over the country will be forced to close. When the costs rise for a clinic to stay in business, subsequently, the costs for patients to receive services will go up too. Abortion services are already very expensive; the average abortion costs $405 and the biggest reason a woman carries an unwanted pregnancy to term is because she could not afford the procedure. This will also make some women take the task into their own hands and resort to extremely unsafe methods of aborting the pregnancy.
With less and less options available, a woman seeking an abortion would likely have to travel far, pay more money for the services, and pay for a hotel as most states implement a 24-72 hour waiting period. Not to mention the amount of time she will be out of work due to traveling. It is clear that, if passed, this law will impose an extreme burden on women seeking to exercise their federally protected right to choose. It is unconstitutional and we hope the Justices on the court realize this too.