Tomorrow, the U.S. Supreme Court will assess the legality of two provisions of Texas bill HB2, passed in 2013, which require that doctors who perform abortions have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic and that facilities meet the standards of ambulatory surgical centers. Major medical organizations contend that these stipulations don’t improve safety since legal abortions are very safe to begin with, and could actually shutter clinics and lead women to pursue unsafe options, including self-induced abortion. The law has already forced the closure of more than half of the 40 clinics in Texas. The case is a big deal.
This leads us to a genius segment last night on Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, in which the late-night warrior interviewed Texas state representative Dan Flynn (R), a co-author of HB2. He really should have turned down this request.
He starts off by parroting the party line that the idea behind the bill was “to be sure that we provided health care, safe health care for women … anytime you start cutting on people’s body you need to have it in a procedure where it can be healthy.” Fair, but Bee reminds him that so-called surgical abortion doesn’t involve incisions — doctors dilate the cervix and insert a vacuum aspiration tube — to which Flynn responds, “I’m not a doctor, I don’t know, but I listened to many doctors tell me about the procedures that happen when you do an invasive surgery.”
Nope, not what’s happening here. And as the New York Times reports, both colonoscopy and liposuction have higher rates of complications and mortality than abortion does, yet neither of those outpatient procedures are subject to such stringent requirements. Make no mistake, laws like these are anti-abortion attacks veiled as medical concern. In fact, HB2 was “inspired” by boilerplate legislation from the group Americans United for Life.