USA TODAY US Edition
Texas law makes women safer
When a case about Texas’ ability to regulate abortion clinics is argued before the Supreme Court on Wednesday, few Democrats will be supporting Texas, but they ought to. The much needed law at issue is consistent with Democratic Party principles, which favor the underdog, the disenfranchised and the rights of the consumer over those of business. Texas is seeking to prevent the harm that happens when an industry gets a pass on government oversight.
The most disturbing example is Kermit Gosnell’s “house of horrors” abortion clinic in Philadelphia. In 2013, Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder, 21 felony counts of performing illegal abortions and 211 counts of violating a 24-hour informed consent law.
We don’t know how unsafe abortion clinics are other than the word of their owners. Planned Parenthood admitted that at least 210 women must be hospitalized annually, in Texas alone, after abortions.
Pennsylvania had not inspected Gosnell’s clinic since 1993. That same year, the state stopped inspecting all abortion clinics. This is likely not unique to Pennsylvania. Regulators often fear reprisal from the abortion industry.
The Philadelphia grand jury that indicted Gosnell concluded: “If oversight agencies expect to prevent future Dr. Gosnells, they must find the fortitude to enact and enforce the necessary regulations.”
That is what Texas has done. Its regulations are not radical; they are common sense. They bring oversight to an industry that generally lacks protections just as Democrats did with the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970, when factory owners vouched that factories were safe places to work.
If the Texas law were overturned, it would send a message that abortion practitioners can exploit women who lack the knowledge or resources to protect themselves from shoddy operators. Democrats should rethink who is in need of protection.
If the Texas law is upheld, women will be safer: There will be fewer negative outcomes — and fewer Gosnells operating inferior facilities because they will know that an inspection is potentially imminent.