The new front in the abortion fight

Are new US regulations protecting women's health or restricting their reproductive choices?

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  1. Alabama lawmakers recently passed legislation that would provide a lawyer to foetuses of girls under the age of 18 who want to have an abortion. This is in cases where the minor does not have her parents' consent. During these trials, judges can call on witnesses to testify against the teen's character and maturity.
  2. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed suit against the law, arguing it creates more barriers for girls who may be victims of abuse or neglect.
  3. The Alabama law is part of growing legislation, particularly in southern US states, that regulate abortion clinics. Targeted regulation of abortion providers, called TRAP laws by pro-abortion rights activists, are active in 26 states.
  4. TRAP laws require doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges, giving them access to hospitals during an abortion. However, doctors find hospitals are hesitant to provide abortion services for various reasons.
  5. These laws also force abortion clinics to build hospital standard amenities similar to ambulatory surgical centres. The facilities requirements include building hallways at a specific width and having a certain amount of parking lot spaces. These renovations can cost more than $1 million.
  6. Proponents argue these laws will make abortions safer for women by ensuring they receive quality care.
  7. This year, more than 250 anti-abortion rights bills have been introduced in various states. From 2010-2013, 54 abortion clinics have closed in 27 states due to these regulations.
  8. Last year, Texas legislators passed House Bill 2 which recently closed 21 clinics. Texas is now left with eight clinics.
  9. Below, Al Jazeera's Fault Lines reports on how women are adapting to abortion clinic closures in Texas.
  10. Access Restricted: Abortion in Texas
  11. Critics say closure of abortion clinics caused by TRAP laws make abortions unsafe and forces women to turn to dangerous abortion practices.
  12. Others note that abortion procedures are extremely safe, demonstrating that these new requirements are unnecessary and unfairly target abortion clinics.
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