In Mississippi, the state passed a TRAP law so onerous that the only clinic that provides abortions may have to shut down.
Now Missouri has decided to join the fight by creating so many regulations around a medical abortion that no doctor may be able to meet all of the criteria.
Yes, it’s a superTRAP.
The bill endorsed by the House would require a doctor — not a nurse or other medical professional — to perform a physical examination of the woman at least 24 hours before prescribing the abortion-inducing drug mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486.
The legislation would require the physician administering RU-486 to have clinical privileges at a nearby hospital, as well as privileges to intervene with surgery if necessary at a hospital or the abortion clinic where the drug was given. It also would require physicians who prescribe abortion-inducing drugs to carry an additional medical malpractice insurance policy of at least $1 million per occurrence and $3 million annually for injury or death of a child born alive after an attempted abortion.
Apparently the amendment requiring that the doctor wear rainbow-striped underwear when administering the drug was voted down.
That’s a joke. For now.
The new law isn’t likely to immediately effect the cost of a first trimester abortion, as the procedure costs the same regardless of whether it is done with medication or surgery. But by cutting down the number of doctors who can provide medical abortions, as well as slowing down the process by creating a rule restricting who can do the initial exam for a medical abortion, the bill could force more women to wait until later in their pregnancies to terminate, then increasing both the costs and risks.
“It’s essentially setting up a two-tiered system for abortions,” said Michelle Trupiano, statewide lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Kansas and Mid-Missouri. According to Trupiano, all abortions currently have the same set of pre-procedure requirements, including who does the initial exam, regardless of what procedure is being employed. By requiring the doctor to perform the exam for a patient who is going to use RU-486, the legislature is placing additional burdens on women seeking medical abortions rather than surgical. The legislature is actually putting more restrictions on providing medical abortions than on providing surgical terminations.
As for requiring any doctor who gives RU-486 to have surgical privileges? “There is absolutely no need for someone following the medical procedures to need surgical privileges in a hospital within 30 miles,” said Trupiano. “Not all of our doctors would be able to get them. It’s an absolutely burdensome regulation.”
The obvious intention is to put in so many rules, regulations and requirements that a doctor will be unable to provide a woman with RU-486 without putting his or her career in jeopardy, and to make it too expensive for a doctor to provide medical abortions at all. This new law has the potential to in essence ban medical abortions all together.
Legislators are writing the right to a legal, safe and non-bankrupting abortion out of law. This is just the first superTRAP law, and if it goes unopposed, it will not be the last.