Red States Getting Redder

Last week, I noted the extent to which opposition to same-sex marriage and opposition to abortion are still linked tightly together. With its new anti-abortion law—and long-standing ban on gay marriage—Alabama is the latest state to prove the point:

Alabama lawmakers late Tuesday gave final passage to a measure placing stricter regulations on clinics that provide abortions. […]

The bill requires abortion clinics to use doctors who have approval to admit patients to hospitals in the same city. Some clinics now use doctors from other cities that don’t have local hospital privileges. A similar law in Mississippi is threatening to close that state’s only abortion clinic, which is challenging the law in court.

The bill also sets stricter building requirements, including wider halls and doors and better fire suppression systems. The state Department of Public Health, which regulates Alabama’s five abortion clinics, reports that most will not meet the stricter standards.

These laws are meant to bind abortion clinics in a trap of unnecessary regulations—mandating everything from closet size to larger doors—and force them to close. As the Associated Press notes, this has already been the case in Mississippi, and will almost certainly be true in other states that have passed similar laws.

The wider public is supportive of liberals on a whole host of issues, from gun control and abortion to same-sex marriage. But this has little to do with the political geography of the country. There are wide areas of the United States where voters oppose marriage equality and seek to restrict reproductive rights. And as the last few years have demonstrated, they’re becoming more conservative at the same time that blue states—like California and New York—are becoming more liberal.

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