Survey by the Guttmacher Institute Examines Policies Moving Through State Legislatures
431: That’s the number of bills introduced in state legislatures over the first three months of 2017 that restrict access to safe, legal abortion.
In a new survey, analysts from the Guttmacher Institute tracked 1,053 provisions introduced in state legislatures from January through March 2017 related to reproductive health.
Of those, a plurality — 431, or 41%— would reduce access to abortion services, while a slightly smaller portion — 405, or 38% — were proactive proposals meant to expand access to sexual and reproductive health services.
That last statistic reveals an ongoing upward trend in the introduction of bills designed to make sexual and reproductive health care services more accessible. According to Guttmacher:
Although the number of abortion restrictions introduced [in early 2017] is about on par with past years, the number of proactive measures grew from 221 in 2015 and 353 in 2016, reflecting growing interest among both advocates and policymakers.
Guaranteed contraceptive coverage has been a principal focus for these proactive bills.
In response to House Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers in 21 states moved to require health plans in their jurisdictions to protect no-copay contraception coverage.
Extremists continue to press, in states where they hold sway, to restrict safe, legal abortion or ban it altogether. Guttmacher’s report identifies 28 states in which extremists have introduced bills to ban abortion services in part or in full.
Five states, according to the report — Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wyoming — fully adopted bans and other major restrictions on abortion between January and March.
The report can be read in full at Guttmacher’s site.