Opinion

Surprise! Abortion clinics closing just as much in blue states as in red

At the Guardian, Molly Redden has a very interesting piece that, despite her best efforts to fit the square peg into a round hole, would seem to severely undermine the idea that America’s women are in desperate need of abortion access—that alongside the wave of abortion clinics closing due to new laws by big mean anti-choice extremists, “clinics are closing just as fast in traditionally abortion-friendly states – without many people noticing”:

Exact numbers for clinic closures are hard to come by. A rough count by the Abortion Care Network, though, found that for every three clinics that closed in a red state in the past few years, two clinics closed in a more liberal state – one of the 17 states where Medicaid covers abortion, or one of 23 states that the Guttmacher Institute, a thinktank that supports reproductive rights, does not consider hostile to abortion access. A list compiled by the Guardian of more than 50 clinics that closed for good in 2014 shows that a little more than half were located in blue states.

Redden cites a number of excuses why abortion itself isn’t the problem…

  • Medicaid reimbursements don’t pay enough money to make abortion clinics profitable enough to stay open
  • Focusing political energy over fights in red states leaves less significant regulations undefended in blue states
  • Abortion is so stigmatized that abortion practices are standalone facilities rather than one of many services offered by the same doctors
  • Contraception has reduced the demand for abortion

There are a number of observations to be made about each of these explanations. We know that contraception isn’t as big a factor as pro-abortion orthodoxy keeps insisting. Beyond the stigma excuse, the unwillingness of most doctors to get involved with abortion is a clear indicator that it’s not the wholesome, savory procedure it’s advertised as after all. And the Medicare observation, ironically, is a prime example of the kind of market distortions government interference with medicine creates that pro-lifers on the right have been trying to explain to big government pro-aborts for years.

But no amount of excuse-making can obscure the key takeaway from admitting that abortion clinics are closing almost as fast under the protection of pro-abortion, taxpayer-funding regimes as they are in supposed War on Women hellholes—that women don’t actually “need” abortion to have free and healthy lives.

We know that only two percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have abortions every year, that less than half of unintended pregnancies end in abortion, and that, judging by the 12% national abortion decline between 2010 and 2013, those numbers are going to keep going down as more mothers choose life.

Somehow, women are managing to get through unintended pregnancies without abortion. Gee, it’s almost as if there were thousands upon thousands of pregnancy help centers nationwide providing alternatives

The bottom line is that abortion clinics are closing because the demand for their product isn’t as strong as they need it to be. If the market was there, they would be able to make it profitable. That new pro-life laws aren’t the only reason (perhaps not even the primary reason) majorly undermines the argument that abortion is something America just can’t live without, and should inspire pro-life politicians to be even more confident that continuing to regulate and restrict the abortion industry won’t alienate millions of women who don’t need abortion after all.

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