While fewer laws were passed than record-setting 2011, Center for Reproductive Rights report finds at least 19 states enacted harmful anti-choice laws
(PRESS RELEASE) 2012 was yet another terrible year for reproductive health and rights, with at least 19 states enacting over 40 harmful restrictions on abortion and other reproductive health care. According to a new report (PDF attached) issued today by the Center for Reproductive Rights, anti-choice legislators continued their effort to erode women’s rights to abortion and reproductive health care by passing dozens of anti-women, anti-abortion, and anti-contraception measures into law. “Access to a full range of safe, reproductive health care, which should be regarded as a fundamental human right, has instead come under relentless assault by politicians hostile to women, reproductive health care providers, and the rights of both,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “This year, citizens must demand that their elected officials—federal, state, and local—stop these attacks and take an affirmative stand to safeguard women’s constitutional reproductive rights against the political tactics of those who seek to chip them away.” Many anti-choice trends in 2011 continued to spill into 2012, including legislative efforts to limit or eliminate women’s access to insurance coverage for abortion, ban on the use of telemedicine for medication abortion, impose targeted regulations on abortion providers making it harder for women to access health care and exercise their constitutional rights, and expand the types of entities that can refuse to provide care or insurance to patients or employees. Several blatantly unconstitutional laws were so immediately harmful to women’s health and rights that the Center, along with other allies, immediately filed suit, including Arizona’s unconstitutional ban on abortion at 20 weeks lmp and Mississippi’s effort to shutter the state’s last abortion clinic with medically unwarranted requirements on physicians who perform abortions. The Center’s report, “Reproductive Rights in 2012: A Look Back at the States,” also acknowledges many reproductive health and rights victories in 2012, including a continuing positive trend of states banning the practice of shackling or restraining pregnant women during labor and delivery in adult and juvenile correctional and detention centers. Further, in 2012 Center for Reproductive Rights launched the national Draw the Line campaign, which calls on all Americans to sign a Bill of Reproductive Rights and tell lawmakers that they stand strongly behind a woman’s fundamental right to safe reproductive health care. To date, nearly 200,000 people representing every state in the United States have signed the bill at drawtheline.org.