Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws are burdensome, medically unnecessary regulations designed to shut down reproductive-health-care clinics and make it more difficult for women to access abortion.
All medical facilities, including abortion providers, already are subject to a number of health and safety requirements, both at the federal and local levels. All medical facilities should be held to the highest necessary safety standards, but TRAP laws unfairly impose requirements on abortion providers not imposed on other medical providers.
TRAP requirements have nothing to do with patient health and safety. Some, for example, dictate the size of janitors’ closets or parking spaces. There are even TRAP laws that require health centers to keep the grass outside cut to a certain height.
The goal of TRAP laws is simple: to close abortion clinics by imposing on them excessive, unnecessary and costly regulations. Ninety percent of U.S. counties have no abortion clinic.1
In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled against a Texas TRAP law in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, finding that the law’s requirements had no benefit to the women of Texas and, in fact, created a significant burden to accessing abortion. The ruling reaffirmed a woman’s constitutional right and ability to access pre-viability abortion care, but did not automatically invalidate the other TRAP laws still on the books across the nation.
Pro-choice litigators and organizations are working to apply this reiterated standard to restrictions across the country. In the meantime, TRAP laws continue to limit women’s access to abortion care with medically unnecessary, anti-choice regulations.
1 Guttmacher Institute, 2014 Abortion Provider Census