Mar 5, 2001
On February 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued another decision restricting women's access to abortion. The court refused to consider a challenge to a South Carolina law that will establish a number of onerous regulations on doctors who perform abortions.
For example, any South Carolina doctor who performs an abortion will have to have offices with especially wide doors, a high rate of ventilation and other features that have no medical justification, but simply make it more difficult and expensive for a doctor to perform an abortion. These regulations are not being required of all doctors –only those who perform abortions.
Even more importantly, the South Carolina law will require any doctor performing an abortion to get a special license –beyond their OB-GYN license public record. In other words, the State of South Carolina, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, is providing a list of targets for the terrorists who have been attacking, maiming and killing doctors who perform abortions.
Since 1973, when abortion was legalized in the U.S., there has been a massive amount of violence directed against abortion providers and their patients. Among the 2,400 reported instances of violence directed against abortion providers, there have been 7 murders and 16 attempted murders. The actual number of such attacks is much higher. There are no even halfway reliable figures on the number of attacks that have been made against women seeking abortions.
This incredible volume of violence –that has mostly gone unpunished –on top of the abortion harassment regulations that have been adopted in 37 states, has caused a decline in the availability of abortion services, particularly to poor and ordinary working class women. In 1983, for example, 42% of all OB-GYN doctors offered abortion services; in 1995 only 33% did. In 1995, 86% of all U.S. counties had not one single doctor who provided abortion services.
The Supreme Court, in upholding the South Carolina law, gives its stamp of approval to terrorism against women.