Anti-women's health politicians are attacking access to reproductive health care and sex education at the state level through dangerous bills, regulations, and executive actions. These attacks include attempting to "defund" Planned Parenthood health centers, limit health care coverage for birth control, and promote abstinence-based school programs. Foes of safe, legal abortion also have stepped up their use of state legislation to thwart personal, private medical decisions about pregnancy that are best left between the woman and her doctor.
Americans have resisted efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade for decades, but recent years have set records for laws that meddle with individuals' sexual and reproductive health decisions. The 334 new abortion restrictions enacted between January 2011 and July 2016, according to data gathered by the Guttmacher Institute, amount to a full 30% of all abortion restrictions enacted by states since Roe in 1973.
The types of tactics employed to interfere with access to safe, legal abortion at the state level include:
- Targeted regulation of abortion providers (TRAP) laws meant to create onerous, medically unnecessary, expensive burdens on abortion providers
- Unconstitutional measures that ban abortion at specific weeks of pregnancy
- Bills that restrict access to nonsurgical abortion, or block access entirely
- Biased interventions — mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, and state-scripted counseling — that inject politics into the exam room
- So-called “personhood” measures
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund and local Planned Parenthood political organizations are fighting back against these attacks in statehouses and courtrooms, and working with legislative champions to introduce bills to expand access to reproductive health care — all while approximately 650 Planned Parenthood health centers care for patients across the country.
Regardless of where you live, you can help to ensure that a woman’s access to health care doesn’t depend on her zip code. See the top ways to take action and get involved today.