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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP)

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What are TRAP laws, and how do they impede women's access to health-care services?

The anti-choice movement has undertaken a campaign to impose unnecessary and burdensome regulations on abortion providers—but not other medical professionals—in an obvious attempt to drive doctors out of practice and make abortion care more expensive and difficult to obtain. Such proposals are known as TRAP laws: Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. Common TRAP regulations include those that: limit the provision of care only to physicians; force practices to convert needlessly into mini-hospitals at great expense; require abortion providers to get admitting privileges; and require facilities to have a transfer agreement with a local hospital (with nothing requiring hospitals to grant such privileges). Further, in many states abortion care is limited to hospitals or other specialized facilities, rather than physicians' offices. Anti-choice supporters of TRAP laws assert these are necessary requirements to ensure patient health and safety, be these claims are specious. Legal abortion is an extremely safe procedure. And all types of medical care—abortion included—are already subject to extensive health and safety laws and regulations.

While some TRAP laws have been found legally unenforceable, many TRAP laws have gone into effect and caused clinic closures in several states, severely limiting access to safe and legal abortion care for millions of women. It is clear: the anti-choice movement's goal is not to protect women's health; it is to regulate abortion clinics out of existence.

Current State Measures

44 states and the District of Columbia have measures subjecting abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not imposed on other medical professionals: AL, AK, AZ, AR, CA, CT, DE, DC, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WI, WY.

  • All of these states prohibit some qualified health care professionals from providing abortion care.
    • 6 states and the District of Columbia have expanded the scope of practice of advanced-practice clinicians to include medical and/or surgical abortion services: CA, CT, DC, IL, NY, RI, WA.
  • 26 of these states restrict the provision of abortion care—often even in the early stages of pregnancy—to hospitals or other specialized facilities: AK, AR, CT, GA, ID, IN, MA, MN, MS, MO, NV, NJ, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI.

  • 19 of these laws are at least partially unenforceable: AL, AK, AZ, ID, IL, IN, KS, LA, MA, MS, MO, NY, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, TX, WI.

2014 Enacted State Legislation

4 states enacted 4 measures that subject abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not imposed on other medical professionals: AZ, IN, LA, OK.


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