This, of course, will not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying a modicum of attention, but just because it isn't surprising doesn't mean that it's not gutwrenchingly infuriating:
Abortion access in the U.S. has been vanishing at the fastest annual pace on record, propelled by Republican state lawmakers' push to legislate the industry out of existence. Since 2011, at least 162 abortion providers have shut or stopped offering the procedure, while just 21 opened.The closing of clinics is the new anti-choice strategy to chip away at Roe. Instead of overturning it, they seek to simply render it an empty statute, by eroding access, challenging the boundaries of Casey's "undue burden" rule.
At no time since before 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion, has a woman's ability to terminate a pregnancy been more dependent on her zip code or financial resources to travel. The drop-off in providers—more than one every two weeks—occurred in 35 states, in both small towns and big cities that are home to more than 30 million women of reproductive age.
...Bloomberg's reporting shows that the downward trend has accelerated to the fastest annual pace on record since 2011, with 31 having closed or stopped performing the procedure each year on average.
State regulations that make it too expensive or logistically impossible for facilities to remain in business drove more than a quarter of the closings. Industry consolidation, changing demographics, and declining demand were also behind the drop, along with doctor retirements and crackdowns on unfit providers.
...That just 21 new clinics opened in five years underscores the difficulty the industry has faced in replenishing the ranks of health-care providers willing and financially able to operate in such a fraught field. The impact of that challenge is likely to be long-lived: Even rarer than the building of a new clinic is the reopening of one that has shut.
All of this has happened while a pro-choice president sits in office.
There isn't much a president can do, with these restrictions being enacted in state legislatures. But there is one thing: The president can use the most prominent bully pulpit in the nation to change the conversation on abortion and to highlight the erosion of abortion access.
I desperately hope that if Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders get the nomination, and eventually the presidency, that they will leverage the unrivaled platform the office provides in order to speak out against this heinous assault on reproductive justice and abortion access.
Frankly, I hope both of them start doing that now.
I can't even tell you what it would mean to me to see Clinton, for example, tweet a link to this piece with a comment like: "If elected president, I will not keep silent about the attacks on abortion access across the country."
This is a promise I desperately want—and need—to hear.
And I still hope that President Obama will use some of his remaining time in office to give a dedicated national address to this issue.