Since 2010, various American States – predominantly in the South and Midwest – have passed over 250 T.R.A.P. laws: the targeted restriction of abortion providers. Not wanting to come outright and say that these laws are put in place by conservatives for overtly religious reasons, these laws modify the specifications and standards that women’s health centres need to meet or exceed in order to stay open and operational. These laws include needlessly convoluted and unnecessary extra appointments that aren’t based in any sort of medical need, hard to meet time requirements, piddling need for useless emergency lighting, and operating rooms equal to those needed for open heart surgery for a procedure that most of the time requires no operating whatsoever. Such restrictions have shrunk the number of clinics to a small handful in Texas, three for all of Alabama, and only one in Mississippi, which is run by one of the same doctors who watches over one of the Alabama clinics.
In the early ’90s, a law was passed by the U.S. congress that individual states could regulate abortion however they see fit provided that the laws don’t unduly cause duress to any woman seeking the procedure. Filmmaker Dawn Porter looks at the subversion of such laws for political gains with Trapped, a well made, but depressingly unsurprising look at what happens when religious fervour mixes with medical science and basic human wellbeing.
The film predominantly looks at the toll placed on the doctors, nurses, and owners of the remaining Alabama clinics as they struggle with the threat of closure. The human angle lays bare the frustrations of these men and women in pointed, humane detail. The ultimate irony here is how they’re having ludicrous “safety” restrictions put on them by the party that insists they’re against big government; all in the interest of putting these facilities out of business via death by a thousand tiny cuts