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Levelling the Abortion Debate; Regulate, Tax, and Repeat

Recently enacted state laws regulating abortion providers in Alabama, Texas, and many other states are in the midst of the judicial process. These new statutes effectively lessen the number of abortion clinics in their respective states. The deluge of new laws is returning the often volatile abortion debate to a head and may offer a strategy to severely limiting abortions in the United States.

Alabama passed HB 57 in 2013, requiring abortion clinic doctors to have admitting privileges in local hospitals. The law’s proponents claim the bill was introduced so abortion recipients will have a continuum of medical care in the event of an emergency. Opponents decry this as simply a strategy to force abortion clinics to close. Indeed, this legislation would have shuttered 3 of the state’s 5 abortion clinics. However, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson struck down the law because it imposed an “undue burden” by limiting abortion access to women.

Texas’ law, made famous by Wendy Davis’ doomed filibuster, includes the admitting privileges portion seen in Alabama, but it also mandates that abortion clinics must meet similar standards that are required of most surgical centers. This requires much more expensive medical devices and facilities. In 2012, there were 41 abortion clinics in Texas, and by the time this bill began to go into effect in 2013, there were only 19. The bill is locked in litigation, but if it stands, the number of abortion clinics in Texas will drop to 10 or less. While this may be burdensome, it doesn’t seem unreasonable.

The ugly truth is that abortions, as a form of birth control, will likely never be illegal in the United States, and this use will continue to be a black eye on the face of modern America. That does not mean that there is no recourse. 189 abortion restrictions were enacted between 2001 and 2010, but from 2011-2013, states enacted 205 restrictions. The uptick in regulations reveals a new tactic in the fight to safeguard innocent lives, and it’s working, with some success. The political right is adopting the left’s mastery of regulating and taxing those responsible for issues they oppose but cannot criminalize.

Americans overwhelmingly find abortion to be immoral. In fact, 74% of Americans believe it’s wrong and after more than 50 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, that sentiment is understandable. However, the public continues to support at least some of the effects of Roe v. Wade. Americans are pretty evenly split when asked if they are pro-choice (47%) or pro-life (46%) on the question of abortion. Pro-lifers are often derided by the left for being hypocritical and not supporting all life. However, the phrase “pro-choice” is also an obvious misnomer. The decision to carry out an abortion doesn’t include the choices from the child nor the father who are all stakeholders.

20% of all pregnancies in the United States end in an abortion, roughly 800,000-1.2 millionabortions annually. When citing the reasons why patients have abortions, nearly 3/4 of respondents said “having a baby would dramatically change my life” and/or “I can’t afford a baby now.” Other studies claim that roughly 93% of abortions have nothing to do with rape, incest, or the health of the mother or fetus.

Supporters claim this is a woman’s reproductive right, but there is an inherent inequality. In essence, women are given an opt-out from the burden, responsibility, and inconvenience of child bearing and rearing. Men play an integral role in procreation and are required to serve a major function in child rearing. To be fair and equal, shouldn’t men also have the right to be absolved of the responsibility of fatherhood if they make this decision within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy? While this sounds logical, men shouldn’t be able to void their obligation to an innocent child. Not only does this punish an innocent life, it also undermines one of the most basic and central institutions – the family. By the same token, women shouldn’t be allowed to take an innocent human life because the timing just wasn’t right for pregnancy.

Abortion activists have framed the debate as about women’s rights instead of this being a human rights issue. Essentially, this debate boils down to two questions. Do you believe a fetus is a human being with rights or not? If you do, then do we have the right to take an innocent life that we find inconvenient? With 74% of Americans believing that abortion is immoral, the answer is simple for them, but lawmakers know that the courts are not receptive on this issue. So, they are forced to reasonably and responsibly adapt the liberal tactics of regulate, tax, and repeat to fight injustice.

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