TRAP laws have been on the rise over the past several years across the United States. They represent a terrifying trend concerning restricted choice for sexual and reproductive health for women in the United States. The term “TRAP” stands for Targeted Regulation on Abortion Providers In June of this year, abortion supporters won a huge victory at the Supreme Court regarding TRAP laws in Texas. The majority opinion argued that the recent regulations enacted in Texas were a thinly veiled disguise at restricting access to abortion more broadly.
In Texas, cumbersome restrictions that required abortion providers to have ambulatory privileges, as well as be within a certain distance to level one trauma centers, forced the majority of abortion providers to close their doors. As any reasonable person would surmise, this led to a drastic increase in attempted at home abortions and illegal abortions, threatening the lives of women in Texas. Pro-life proponents argued that abortion itself is a dangerous procedure that warrants the above mention regulatory stipulations. The Supreme Court found this untrue and in their opinion highlighted the fact that a person is 100 times more likely to die from a simple liposuction procedure than from medical abortion in the United States.
There is a very important decision taking place in Virginia this week where the Board of Health and the Governor are expected to overturn the current TRAP laws in the state. Governor Terry McAuliffe has shown his commitment to protecting reproductive freedom for women in Virginia and has stood behind activists fighting to overturn TRAP. Earlier this year McAuliffe vetoed a bill to defend Planned Parenthood in Virginia. The decision in Virginia next week will set a precedent for other states across the US. Virginia is both diverse racially and politically and this win for reproductive justice could symbolize a larger push toward protecting the right to medical abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade.