Since 2014, more than 130 abortion clinics across the country have shut their doors, according to a pro-abortion group. Pro-life activists will celebrate the fact that there are fewer “clinics” killing unborn babies. However, abortion activists have argued that pro-life laws are intended to close clinics, not to protect women and babies.
The Abortion Care Network identified 136 independent abortion clinics — unaffiliated with Planned Parenthood — that closed since 2014. In that year, 23 clinics closed. In 2015, another 34 shuttered. Twenty-two more followed in 2016, then 17 in 2017 and 13 in 2018. So far this year, another 26 clinics have permanently ceased operations, the organization reported.
These findings are broadly consistent with a January 2019 report from the pro-life group Operation Rescue. That report found that 40 clinics had shut down in 2018, 32 of which provided surgical abortions while the other eight performed non-surgical or “medical” abortions.
Operation Rescue put the number of abortion clinics in the U.S. at 697 by the end of 2018 — about 150 fewer than the 844 clinics reported in 2009. This represented an even larger drop from 1991 when there were 2,176 surgical abortion clinics nationwide.
“This represents a massive 79 percent decrease in the number of surgical abortion facilities over the past 27 years,” Operation Rescue noted at the time.
Some abortion clinics have merely changed the way in which they kill unborn babies. “Unable or unwilling to meet new surgical facility safety regulations, some have resorted to dropping surgical abortions as perhaps their only means of staying open — especially in states that do not regulate medical abortion clinics or that allow nonphysicians to dispense the drugs,” Operation Rescue added.
Safety standards for abortion clinics have become a nationwide issue following the horrific case of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, powerfully told in the movie Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Greatest Serial Killer. This month, the Supreme Court upheld Kentucky’s law requiring abortionists to show mothers an ultrasound of their unborn babies before killing them. The Court is currently considering a Louisiana law requiring abortion clinics to have visiting privileges at local hospitals in order to operate. A vast majority of Americans support this kind of regulation to protect the mothers undergoing an abortion.
Abortion Care Network Executive Director Nikki Madsen attacked state-level regulations as an attempt to shut down clinics.
“Anti-abortion politicians have long used onerous restrictions to try and shut down independent abortion providers,” Madsen told CBS News. “Since 2010, anti-abortion politicians have passed more than 400 laws that attempt to make it too expensive or logistically impossible for abortion clinics to operate.”
Yet abortion is an inherently dangerous procedure, to the babies it kills and to their bereaved mothers. Certain types of regulations make a great deal of sense, and the health of post-abortive women is important enough to justify many closures. Yet abortion activists claim that every closure damages a woman’s “right” to abortion as guaranteed under the Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade (1973) and related cases.
While many abortion activists will balk at the prospect, it is high time the Court reconsider Roe and the related cases. That decision struck down state laws across the nation without a peep from Congress or the president — the branches that make law under the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s decision to make baby-killing legal by judicial fiat has divided the country and weakened the authority of states and Congress. At the very least, Roe should fall so that states can make their laws on abortion.
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