New Interactive Maps Detail Devastating Impact of Anti-Choice Legislation on Women Across the United States

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State of the States report focuses on four of the most extreme and harmful trends in state abortion restrictions passed in 2013, providing snapshot of coordinated legislative attacks on women’s health and rights
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(PRESS RELEASE) Politicians in nearly every single state attempted to restrict women’s access to their constitutionally protected right to abortion in 2013—considering nearly 250 pieces of anti-choice legislation, according to a new report out today by the Center for Reproductive Rights.       

The State of the States report features an interactive map detailing four of the most extreme and harmful trends in state abortion restrictions enacted in 2013: abortion bans, restrictions on medication abortion, bans on insurance coverage for abortion, and targeted regulation of abortion providers (also known as “TRAP” laws). Of the nearly 250 bills that were considered in 2013 aimed at restricting access to abortion and other reproductive health services, over 30 became law. The report also highlights current litigation, featuring the Center’s efforts to beat back these attacks on reproductive rights in state and federal court.

 “Rampant attacks on women’s reproductive health care reached new and alarming heights in 2013, shedding a bright light on the extreme lengths to anti-choice politicians will go to block women from accessing safe and legal abortion,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights.

“Because this past year was so devastating to women’s reproductive health care across the country, we’ve seen an unprecedented grassroots outcry against these attacks on our constitutional rights. We must build on this momentum and demand our elected officials support legislation that actually advances women’s health and rights.”  

BANS ON ABORTION CARE: In 2013, three states (AR, ND, TX) passed outright bans on abortion prior to viability, including North Dakota’s blatantly unconstitutional ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy.

ATTACKS ON MEDICATION ABORTION ACCESS: Last year, seven states (AL, IN, LA, MS, MO, NC, TX) enacted laws that restrict women’s access to medication abortion, a safe and effective method of ending an early pregnancy, either through bans on the use of telemedicine or requirements to use the outdated FDA protocol for the medication.

TARGETED REGULATION OF ABORTION PROVIDERS: TRAP laws impose burdensome and medically inappropriate requirements on physicians who provide abortions in an underhanded attempt to force clinics out of practice and ultimately making it harder for women to access abortion services. Seven states (AL, LA, NC, ND, OH, TX, WI) enacted TRAP laws in 2013—from requiring abortion providers obtain hospital admitting privileges to onerous and unnecessary physical plant requirements for clinics.

RESTRICTIONS ON INSURANCE COVERAGE: In 2013, seven states (AR, IA, KS, MI, NC, PA, VA) passed laws aimed at making it harder—and in some cases impossible—for women in their state to access health care coverage for abortion services, such as restrictions such as bans on coverage through state health care exchanges, prohibiting private health insurance plans from offering abortion coverage, and restrictions on coverage for government employees.

Today’s report documents the very real and devastating impact that these anti-choice laws have on women’s health and safety across the country. For example, the report highlights the havoc that is being wrought in Texas after the legislature and governor pushed through an omnibus anti-choice bill which has since resulted in abortion care becoming virtually unattainable for thousands of women in the state.

“Last year saw a pure avalanche of restrictions— often piled one upon the other—creating insurmountable barriers for millions of women seeking health care with catastrophic results,” said Amanda Allen, state legislative counsel for the Center and chief author of the report released today. “Extreme politicians are no doubt hoping to continue to choke off women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health services in 2014.

“It’s beyond time for state legislators to recognize that the only way to protect women's health is to ensure access to abortion and other critical reproductive health services, not by banning abortion or shutting down safe, reputable providers.”

The Center for Reproductive Rights encourages readers to send politicians a loud and clear message: reproductive rights are fundamental human rights, and must be protected from extremist politicians.  Individuals can get involved by signing the Bill of Reproductive Rights, the centerpiece of the Center’s Draw the Line campaign.  Nearly 300,000 people have already signed the Bill of Reproductive Rights.

Readers can also urge their members of Congress to support the Women’s Health Protection Act (S1691/HR 3471), a recently-introduced Congressional bill designed to end this recent wave of anti-choice laws preventing women from accessing their constitutional right to an abortion.  The Women’s Health Protection Act would ensure a woman’s constitutional rights do not depend on her zip code.