As the Fifth Circuit ponders whether Mississippi’s law aimed at closing the state’s only abortion clinic is constitutional, neighboring states are enacting similar laws.
According to this New York Times article, Alabama, Texas and now Louisiana have all passed bills similar to the one passed in Mississippi. The bills require that a physician performing abortions have admitting privileges to a local hospital.
The official reason for the bill is to promote women’s health. But the real reason is to end all legal abortions, something the bill’s proponents occasionally slip up and admit publicly. From the Times article:
Tanya Britton, a board member for Pro-Life Mississippi, said the laws enacted in her state and others, including the admitting-privilege requirement, were intended not just to make abortion safer but to end them.
“These incremental laws are part of a greater strategy to end abortion in our country,” she said. “It’s part of it, and one day, our country will be abortion free.”
That’s an honest answer. Of course, outlawing legal abortions in a safe and regulated environment will make abortions much more dangerous.
So why don’t proponents of the bills publicly admit that the intent is to end all legal abortions? Because if that is the intent, then the bill is almost guaranteed to violate Roe v. Wade.
The fact that courts seriously entertain the bill’s pretextual justification is unseemly for the judicial system. It’s similar to what Mississippi courts did during the civil rights era to maintain white supremacy. No one then would admit the real reason for what the state was doing either, but everyone knew what the score was.
History tends have a poor view of pretextual legal proceedings. Perhaps this time will be different. But I doubt it.