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TRAP laws and the invisible labor of US abortion providers

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Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws) are proliferating in the United States and have increased barriers to abortion access. In order to comply with these laws, abortion providers make significant changes to facilities and clinical practices. In this article, we draw attention to an often unacknowledged area of public health threat: how providers adapt to increasing regulation and the resultant strains on the abortion provider workforce. Current US legal standards for abortion regulations have led to an increase in laws that target abortion providers. We describe recent research with abortion providers in North Carolina to illustrate how providers adapt to new regulations, and how compliance with regulation leads to increased workload and increased financial and emotional burdens on providers. We use the concept of invisible labor to highlight the critical work undertaken by abortion providers not only to comply with regulations, but also to minimize the burden that new laws impose on patients. This labor provides a crucial bridge in the preservation of abortion access. The impact of TRAP laws on abortion providers should be included in the consideration of the public health impact of abortion laws.
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Keywords: abortion; health policy; invisible labor; reproductive health

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA 2: Department of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA 3: Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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