So, We're Probably Going To Lose Some Abortion Rights Soon
Today, the Supreme Court starts hearing arguments in June Medical Services v. Russo, an abortion-related case that hinges primarily on everyone involved agreeing to pretend to not know, and have no way of finding out, how emergency rooms work. This particular case could very likely result in Louisiana, which currently only has three abortion clinics, having zero abortion clinics.
At issue is a 2014 Louisiana law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges. Sound familiar? It should, because a law exactly like this was struck down in 2016. In Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, the court decided 5-3 that Texas could not require clinics to have admitting privileges because requiring that would result in the closure of many clinics, which would make it far too difficult to obtain an abortion in the state. Normally, that would be that. But now we have two more super anti-abortion judges on the bench, and they're giving it another shot. Which, just to be clear, means that they will almost certainly be deciding in favor of the state of Louisiana, and any state that wants to will soon be able to just eliminate all of the abortion clinics by requiring them to get admitting privileges at hospitals, and then pressuring those hospitals not to give admitting privileges to physicians who perform abortions.
Those pushing the law disingenuously claim that they are doing this to protect women's health, which is ridiculous. An abortion is one of the safest procedures out there. It is a fairly benign, outpatient procedure that practically never results in a trip to the emergency room. Making the motivation behind this especially clear is the fact that those leading the charge here are anti-choice men.
[Benjamin] Clapper considers this to be his life's work. Now 35, he been working on anti-abortion causes since he was in high school. He says he initially felt motivated by a calling to protect the unborn. But the longer he's been doing this job, and the more stories he's heard from women who have considered or had abortions — women, he says, who were shaken, regretful, or scared — the more he has felt that restricting abortions is about supporting women, too. "While I began with the perspective of wanting to defend the rights of the unborn child, I've been able to see that the abortion facilities, in their pursuit to sell abortions, kind of lose sight of the care for the woman in that process," he says. "That was part of the motivating factor behind this law."
In 2014, after hearing about Texas's law and other states who had considered enforcing admitting privileges at abortion facilities, Clapper brought his idea to then-state Rep. Katrina Jackson.
Oh, go fuck yourself, Benjamin. Really. We all know what this is about. It is not about women's safety, it is about the fact that one too many people told you that you have a face only a mother could love.
Women are not idiots. If we wanted an abortion doctor with "admitting privileges," we would get one. None of us need this twerp to be our knight in shining polyester.
But we don't need that. Why?
Because, for the 80 gazillionth time, if you have an emergency and need to go to the hospital emergency room, you don't get to make requests. An ambulance is not a freaking Uber (you can tell by the way it will cost you $2,000! When was the last time you needed a GoFundMe for an Uber ride?). They will take you to the closest hospital with the shortest triage line. Also, once you get there, it literally does not matter if your doctor has "admitting privileges." The hospital has to take you anyway. They can get your records anyway. They can call your doctor anyway. It's not a posh nightclub where you have to know someone to get in the door, it is an emergency room. Literally the only thing this does is make it so your doctor can be in the hospital with you and attend to you themselves, which almost definitely would not happen and very definitely would not be at all necessary.
Were the Supreme Court so inclined, they could talk to pretty much anyone who has ever worked in an emergency room, anywhere in the United States, and get confirmation on this. Or the child of someone who worked in an emergency room (like me!).
But they won't! Because they want to get rid of abortion, so the actual facts of the matter ... don't actually matter.
Thankfully, although they are hearing arguments right now, the case won't be decided til June — meaning that those of you living in Louisiana have about three months to get an abortion if you need one, or move to a less ridiculous state.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse