2011: A Look Back

Every year, anti-choice state legislators propose hundreds of measures intended to erode women’s rights to abortion and reproductive health care. Some of these aim to restrict access by imposing mandatory waiting periods, ideologically biased counseling provisions, and other burdensome, unnecessary requirements. Other proposals are far more extreme, including those designed to ban abortion or prohibit women from accessing contraception.

From the start, the 2011 legislative session was marked by animus and antagonism to women’s health, and the year quickly became an all-out assault on women’s rights. Even though legislators reject the vast majority of the hundreds of bills proposed each year, 2011 was extraordinarily alarming as more than 60 bills became—for now—laws restricting women’s access to reproductive health care. That is an exceptionally high number.

There is no question that 2011 will be viewed as a pivotal year in which millions of women lost important ground, suffered flagrant violations of their reproductive rights, and saw governments time and again act to harm, rather than improve, their health.

Nonetheless, anti-abortion forces have not won the day. Pro-choice governors and legislators defeated many proposals across the country. And the Center for Reproductive Rights, along with allies in advocacy, battled back in the courts and successfully blocked a number of serious intrusions into women’s health and rights. A quick review of the Center’s legal record for 2011 stands as testament that many of the laws state legislatures have recklessly passed do not hold up to judicial scrutiny:

Kansas: The Center won two preliminary injunctions—the first in federal court, the second in state court­­—against overreaching and inappropriate targeted regulation of abortion providers, known as TRAP laws. (See pp. 9­–10 or our website for additional details on law and the case.)

North Carolina: One of two states in which the Center has brought challenges in 2011 to laws requiring women to view ultrasound images and hear biased, scripted counseling designed to dissuade women from having an abortion. (See pp. 12–13 and our website for more details.)

North Dakota: The Center obtained a temporary injunction against a law that the state itself admits bans physicians from providing medication abortion throughout the state. (See p. 13­­–14 and our website for more information.)

Oklahoma: The Center won a temporary injunction against an unnecessary, harmful, and politically motivated law that could impose severe restrictions on physicians’ ability to provide, and women’s ability to receive, medications as a treatment alternative for pregnancy termination, including ectopic pregnancy. (See p. 14–15 and our website for more information.)

Finally, we saw voters in Mississippi resoundingly reject a “personhood” amendment to the state’s Bill of Rights, the latest attempt by an extreme anti-abortion group to abolish the right to a broad range of reproductive health care. The Center supported the grass-roots organizations opposing the measure and maintained a loud and high-profile voice in exposing the amendment’s potential harm.

As we prepare for 2012, the Center offers this recap of the major trends of 2011, a look at what the next legislative session may bring, a state-by-state analysis of 2011’s enacted laws, and notes on some of the positive legislation that will improve women’s health and safeguard their rights.

Download the full report "2011: A Look Back" (PDF) >>>

 

 

 

Every year, anti-choice state legislators propose hundreds of measures intended to erode women’s rights to abortion and reproductive health care. Some of these aim to restrict access by imposing mandatory waiting periods, ideologically biased counseling provisions, and other burdensome, unnecessary requirements. Other proposals are far more extreme, including those designed to ban abortion or prohibit women from accessing contraception.

From the start, the 2011 legislative session was marked by animus and antagonism to women’s health, and the year quickly became an all-out assault on women’s rights. Even though legislators reject the vast majority of the hundreds of bills proposed each year, 2011 was extraordinarily alarming as more than 60 bills became—for now—laws restricting women’s access to reproductive health care. That is an exceptionally high number.

There is no question that 2011 will be viewed as a pivotal year in which millions of women lost important ground, suffered flagrant violations of their reproductive rights, and saw governments time and again act to harm, rather than improve, their health.

Nonetheless, anti-abortion forces have not won the day. Pro-choice governors and legislators defeated many proposals across the country. And the Center for Reproductive Rights, along with allies in advocacy, battled back in the courts and successfully blocked a number of serious intrusions into women’s health and rights. A quick review of the Center’s legal record for 2011 stands as testament that many of the laws state legislatures have recklessly passed do not hold up to judicial scrutiny:

Kansas: The Center won two preliminary injunctions—the first in federal court, the second in state court­­—against overreaching and inappropriate targeted regulation of abortion providers, known as TRAP laws. (See pp. 9­–10 or our website for additional details on law and the case.)

North Carolina: One of two states in which the Center has brought challenges in 2011 to laws requiring women to view ultrasound images and hear biased, scripted counseling designed to dissuade women from having an abortion. (See pp. 12–13 and our website for more details.)

North Dakota: The Center obtained a temporary injunction against a law that the state itself admits bans physicians from providing medication abortion throughout the state. (See p. 13­­–14 and our website for more information.)

Oklahoma: The Center won a temporary injunction against an unnecessary, harmful, and politically motivated law that could impose severe restrictions on physicians’ ability to provide, and women’s ability to receive, medications as a treatment alternative for pregnancy termination, including ectopic pregnancy. (See p. 14–15 and our website for more information.)

Finally, we saw voters in Mississippi resoundingly reject a “personhood” amendment to the state’s Bill of Rights, the latest attempt by an extreme anti-abortion group to abolish the right to a broad range of reproductive health care. The Center supported the grass-roots organizations opposing the measure and maintained a loud and high-profile voice in exposing the amendment’s potential harm.

As we prepare for 2012, the Center offers this recap of the major trends of 2011, a look at what the next legislative session may bring, a state-by-state analysis of 2011’s enacted laws, and notes on some of the positive legislation that will improve women’s health and safeguard their rights.

Download the full report "2011: A Look Back" (PDF) >>>