Three Commonsense Regulations S.B. 107 Would Eliminate

The so-called “Women’s Health Protection Act” has been re-introduced to the US Senate, this time as S.B. 701. This legislation would create a national abortion law that would override all state laws. This would undoubtedly have far reaching effects (including unanticipated ones). However, we can flag three kinds of health regulations it would eliminate, leaving women who seek abortions exposed to greater risks.   

  1. Continuity of Care

This proposal could void the laws in many states which require continuity of care for patients. This means that abortion providers could fly into states, perform abortions, and leave town without providing essential follow-up care for their patients. We saw the effects of this “standard of care” when Dr. LeRoy Carhart flew into Maryland, performed (over the course of four days) an abortion at 33 weeks of pregnancy on a 29-year-old kindergarten teacher, then returned to Nebraska. He was unavailable for follow-up care, and she tragically died from complications.  

  1. Informed Provider

This bill would repeal requirements that providers ask the woman about her reason for seeking an abortion. This information not only helps doctors provide the best possible care, with a more holistic understanding of a woman’s situation, but the anonymous, combined data informs public health decisions. Additionally, this simple question helps screen for sexual abuse and leads to interventions to protect women from their abusers. Without this requirement, a young girl who was repeatedly sexually assaulted could be brought in for abortions by her abuser, and the provider would not have to ask about the reasons for the procedures. 

  1. Full range of options

Finally, the WHPA would remove requirements that abortion providers share with women about the full range of pregnancy options and resources. Providers would be able to exclusively present the option that contributes to their own profits, abortion. 

Unfortunately, the elimination of such protections would undoubtedly lead to greater harm to women who receive abortions.