OLIVIA SUMMERS, ACLJ
In 1970, New York established itself as the abortion capital of American when it passed the most permissible abortion law in America. To this day, New York is one of the most abortion friendly states in the U.S.
In 2014, abortions in the U.S. occurred at a rate of 14.6 abortions per 1,000 women. During that same year, the abortion rate in New York was over twice the national average with a rate of 29.6 abortions per 1,000 women. Furthermore, in 2014 “[a]bortions in New York represent[ed] 12.9% of all abortions in the United States.”
Considering New York’s early and broad support of abortion, one would imagine that nothing would have made New York abortion clinics happier than that day in 1973 when the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Roe v. Wade, legalizing abortion across the country. After all, it’s not about abortion, it’s about women, right?
Not so. The following statements are excerpts from a 1973 New York Times article:
In the face of increased competition many clinics are exploring new techniques and health services, including “colonizing” other states where such abortion facilities have previously been illegal.
Reports differ on how much—or even whether—nationwide legal abortion has slowed the stream of out‐of‐state‐women, who last year had more than 60 per cent of the 118,000 abortions that were performed here.
The major proportion of those pregnant three months or less patronized nonhospital clinics, generating what has been described as “cut throat competition” and “virtual kidnapping at airports.”
“A lot of clinics are scared stiff—some talk about pooling facilities to meet their colossal overheads, especially rents,” said Dr. Richard Hausknecht, who recently completed a report for the New York County Medical Society on “ideal” abortion services.
“The days are doomed for doctors who made a million dollars or more, doing 50 or 60 abortions per four‐or‐five‐day week in a clinic.”
. . . .
Two clinic directors predicted that the standard abortion price would drop to $100 within a year because of competition, and some persons suggested that “eventually” it would level off near $50, or not much more than the price for miniabortion.
However, Mr. Moran said he was “not at all convinced” that either a commercial clinic or physician doing office abortions would find it easy “to get the fee below $125 without loading on extra charges,” considering the costs of necessary laboratory work and other important procedures.
He noted that the Planned Parenthood clinics’ lowest price of $2 on a sliding scale was offset by a high of $145.
The author of the article also noted that Roe v. Wade “punched holes in Article 42 of the city’s Health Code” causing healthcare professionals to lament:
“There’s nothing now but professional self-discipline to keep doctors who aren’t OB’s or surgeons from doing first-trimester abortion in their offices . . . . And if they do them, we won’t be able to keep up our standards.”
In fact, the article cited an obstetrician as criticizing the Supreme Court decision’s as a “Catch-22.”
“In its ban on regulating first-trimester abortion, the court cited ‘the now-established medical fact’ of safety during this period . . . . Everybody knows this ‘medical fact’ was ‘established’ here and that the court relied on the data, experience and abortion-safety record of New York City—which, ironically, was based on strict regulation.”
Indeed, the prediction that standards would be eroded has been fulfilled. In 2014, the New York Post reported that eight of New York’s twenty-five abortion clinics “were never inspected over the 2000-12 span, five were inspected just once, and eight were inspected only twice or three times – meaning once every four or six years.” The article went on to state, “[b]y comparison, city eateries are inspected every year and graded, while a new law requires tanning salons to undergo inspections at least once every other year.”
Even after the reports of New York’s woefully under-inspected abortion clinics came out, in 2015, New York failed to pass a bill that would have required “the department of health to undertake periodic inspections of abortion clinics. Under S 2128, the commissioner would be required to establish standards for cleanliness, hygiene and safety, with inspections occurring at least every two years.” Apparently, it was too much to ask of New York to provide clean, hygienic, and safe places for women.
Oh, but New York is persistent in its efforts to protect the health of its citizens, after all, while it can’t take the time to inspect abortion mills where babies are murdered every day, it did try to ban the Big Gulp!
In fact, while New York is refusing to implement even basic safety requirements on abortion clinics, it is actively fighting to regulate pro-life pregnancy centers out of existence – centers which help women in need and save the lives of countless babies. New York is actively fighting what it views as a further threat to the abortion industry’s ability to make a profit—pro-life clinics. As we’ve reported before, in an effort to shut down pro-life clinics, in 2011 New York City enacted an anti-free speech law. “If the law were permitted to take effect, it would have stifled the ability of pro-life centers to advertise their services.”
New York City’s anti-free speech law aimed at pro-life centers was the first of its kind, but similar laws with the same motive and purpose have spread across the country. We’ve been actively engaged in the battle against these laws from the beginning taking these cases to the Supreme Court. Two years ago our New York clients won their ability to continue offering their pro-life services—free to women in difficult situations.
In June of this year, we won another victory when the Supreme Court held that a California law, which required, among other things, required licensed pregnancy centers to advertise the availability of free and low-cost abortions was unconstitutional. As a result of that Supreme Court decision, an almost identical law in Hawaii—which we were also fighting—was “declared to be unconstitutional under the United States Constitution as-applied to Plaintiff with respect to Plaintiff’s First Amendment Free Speech Claim.”
Despite a false narrative about a caring for women, the abortion industry’s concern with making a profit hasn’t changed much in the last 45 years. The abortion industry’s constant efforts to fight health and safety regulations and its support of anti-free speech laws aimed at silencing pro-life clinics highlight the truth that abortion is solely about profiting from the death of innocent babies.
Join with us as we fight to protect pro-life clinics and save innocent babies from the industry that profits from their death.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.
Olivia Summers is Associate Counsel for Public Policy with the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on pro-life advocacy and protecting the freedoms of speech and religion. Olivia earned her Juris Doctor from Regent University School of Law. While at Regent, Olivia clerked for the ACLJ and served as a board member for Regent Journal of International Law, was a member of the Honor Council, and was actively involved in Regent Students for Life. In addition, Olivia spent one summer interning at the ECLJ where she gained experience in international law and human rights issues. Prior to attending Regent, Olivia earned her B.A. in History from the University of Wyoming. Olivia joined the ACLJ full-time after graduating from Regent. She is admitted to practice in Virginia and Washington D.C.