The Abortion-as-Healthcare Paradox

In recent months, there has been massive opposition to legislation designed to force abortion clinics to meet reasonable health and safety standards; a look into the more distant past reveals that there have long been concerns about individuals who work at hospitals and religious hospitals in general being forced to provide abortions against their consciences.

On one hand, abortions rights activists refuse to hold abortion clinics up to hospital standards, but on the other, they want hospitals everywhere to provide abortions. There’s some sort of cognitive dissonance going on here. Do pro-choicers want hospital-quality abortions or not?

It seems to me that the opposition to the pro-life legislation is reflexive rather than premeditated: the way they see it, pro-life folks are pushing it, so it must be bad. The very fact that pro-lifers came up with it makes them suspicious that the bills are not designed to make abortion safer, but primarily to restrict abortion access.

If that’s really what they’re concerned about, I’m wondering why we got a Wendy Davis filibuster instead of a Wendy Davis bill raising health and safety standards for abortion clinics. That is, if pro-choice politicians don’t want pro-lifers to ride a wave of public opinion against horrific conditions in abortion clinics, maybe they should take some legislative steps to clean up their own side’s messes. If bills written by pro-life activists restrict abortion too much, let’s see the other side’s alternative (given the way in which the Obamacare debate developed, I think this is a fair argument).

With respect to the “safe, legal, rare” slogan, abortion rights advocates are currently batting one for three, and I can’t understand why they are so intent on doing so at this juncture. If birth control is healthcare, then let’s hold birth control providers up to basic medical standards.

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