TRAP Facts We Learned from the Latest “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver”

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In case you missed last night’s clip about abortion and TRAP laws on the John Oliver show, we have summarized a few key points below. What can you do to help? Educate yourself and then educate others. Oh, and don’t forget to vote in local elections. You can watch the entire clip here. 

  • Despite what the media wants you to believe, most people in the US (36%) think that there are a FEW circumstances under which abortion should be legal. 29% think abortion should be legal under ANY circumstance. 13% believe abortion should be legal under MOST circumstances. While 19% believe that abortion should NEVER be legal.
  • In 2010, 70 abortion clinics in the US had to shut their doors.
  • Even though abortion is technically legal in the US only four states have 1 abortion clinic left
    • North Dakota
    • South Dakota
    • Missouri
    • Mississippi (that means Mississippi has 4 times as many S’s as it does abortion clinics)
  • HB-2,a TRAP law in Texas that passed in 2013, requires abortion clinics to meet the same building standards as outpatient surgical centers even though 90% of abortions occur in the first trimester. At this stage of abortion, there is no cutting involved and only mild sedation (if any.) The law also requires doctors to have hospital admitting privileges even though legal abortions have a mortality rate of 0.00073% (10 times less than dying from a colonoscopy). Coincidentally, you don’t need hospital admitting privileges to run a birthing center even though 12% of women were transferred to a hospital after a birthing center admission.
    • Ex. A clinic in TX had to close because their hallways were only 3 ft wide vs the required 8 ft wide. The width is set in place to accommodate 2 passing gurneys, a stipulation that is unnecessary for a clinic that mostly accommodates women who are only in the first trimester. You don’t need an operating room to take a pill.
  • More and more states are requiring doctors to actively spread misinformation such as :
    • abortion may lead to complications such as bleeding, infection, and damage to organs (these are the same complications that can come from continuing your pregnancy.)
    • having an abortion can increase risk of breast cancer (there is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this statement)
  • Some states require that a woman be shown an ultrasound even if she doesn’t want to see it. She must also listen to a doctor describing what is on the ultrasound. If a woman doesn’t want to see it, she may “cover her ears or eyes and refuse to listen.”
  • Mandatory waiting periods (some that last 72 hours) between the initial consultation with the doctor and the actual procedure are detrimental to women who have to travel far. Women are forced to take multiple trips or plan to spend at least three days away from home (not to mention they have to pay for the cost of travel and accommodations and miss work).

It’s not enough for abortion to just be legal, it also has to be accessible.


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