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Elections & Politics

Planned Parenthood: Report on State Politicians' Attacks on Women’s Health Is a Call for New Leadership

Contact: Planned Parenthood Action Fund Media Office, 212-261-4433

For Immediate Release: 01.02.14

NEW YORK — A new report from the independent reproductive health research organization the Guttmacher Institute highlights the onslaught of women’s health restrictions enacted on the state level in 2013. These attacks have resulted in a historic outcry from women, men, young people, doctors, Democrats and Republicans who know these laws will do nothing to protect women’s health and safety.  The majority of Americans recognize that these laws will often harm women’s health by: restricting access to abortion or delaying the procedure so it’s later in pregnancy; making it harder for women to get birth control; blocking women from lifesaving cancer screenings and wellness exams; or prohibiting sex education programs that prevent teen pregnancy.

In the study, researchers found:

  • Seventy new laws enacted in 22 states restrict access to abortion.
  • North Dakota and Texas themselves are key to the increase in restriction this year, together enacting more than a dozen restrictions in 2013. 
  • Fifty-six percent of American women of reproductive age are living in states pursuing policies that restrict their access to reproductive health care.

These threats to women’s health outlined in today’s report were enacted despite polls showing that a majority of Americans (70 percent) oppose efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade.  In order to jam them through, politicians in several of these states bent or broke the rules, called special legislative sessions, cast votes at midnight and abused legislative loopholes last year. 

Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:

“The historic rise of these attacks on women’s health can be traced back to 2010, when out-of-touch Tea Party politicians picked up key seats in legislatures across the country, promising to create jobs and boost our economy — but immediately focused on ending access to safe and legal abortion and limiting women’s health care options. The laws these extreme politicians are passing are more than attacks on women's health — they are attacks on what Americans believe.  The majority of Americans, regardless of political party, believe that a woman should be able to make personal medical decisions without political interference — that is why politicians had to employ every underhanded trick in the book to get these laws passed, sometimes quite literally in the dark of night.  

“Along with millions of supporters, Planned Parenthood works in all 50 states to fight back against this unprecedented and orchestrated wave of attacks pushed by a small but vocal group of extreme politicians and conservative special interest groups.  After a record outpouring of opposition to these measures from the Deep South to the heart of the Midwest, it is crystal clear that women and men in states across the country need new leaders who value women’s health.  This year, Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes will be working to change the face of leadership in key states in order to ensure that a woman’s access to health care doesn’t depend on her zip code.” 

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Planned Parenthood Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.