New Report Shows Political Assault on Access to Reproductive Health Care
For Immediate Release: Jan. 5, 2016
“We have seen the devastating consequences for women,” says Planned Parenthood
WASHINGTON, DC — New data released today from Guttmacher shows that politicians at the state level enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions in 2015. Since the 2010 mid-term elections, politicians have enacted 288 restrictions on safe, legal abortion at the state level. This comes as the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to review a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding restrictions in Texas that have threatened to devastate access to safe, legal abortion across the state. In fact, researchers found that up to 240,000 Texas women may have attempted to end a pregnancy on their own, without medical assistance, due to restricted access to safe, legal abortion.
On top of targeting women’s access to safe, legal abortion, politicians at the state level have taken aim at access to birth control, cancer screening, STD tests and other care at Planned Parenthood health centers. A Guttmacher analysis shows that blocking care at Planned Parenthood would have devastating consequences for women’s health, writing: “In two-thirds of the 491 counties in which they are located, Planned Parenthood health centers serve at least half of all women obtaining contraceptive care from safety-net health centers. In one-fifth of the counties in which they are located, Planned Parenthood sites are the sole safety-net family planning center.” In the past, blocking care at Planned Parenthood has had devastating consequences --- in Indiana it led to an HIV epidemic, in Texas it led to tens of thousands of women not getting care.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
“We have seen first-hand that these political attacks hurt women. In Texas women are already traveling hundreds of miles, crossing state lines, and waiting weeks to get an abortion, if they can at all. These are the very same politicians who are pushing to block access to cancer screenings, birth control, and other care at Planned Parenthood. Even though the vast majority of the public wants women to have access to reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion, some politicians are obsessed with interfering in women’s personal health care decisions. Our focus is on making sure our 2.5 million patients have access to the care they need and are able to make their own health care decisions.”
Polls consistently show that the majority of Americans support access to safe and legal abortion and Planned Parenthood. Since July, there have been 14 national polls measuring support for Planned Parenthood--and and every single one of them show strong support for Planned Parenthood and access to reproductive health care. A recent Bloomberg Politics national poll found that 67 percent of Americans surveyed said the Supreme Court was right to rule that women have a constitutional right to abortion and agree with the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. A VOX/PerryUndem poll found that more Americans now consider themselves pro-choice than pro-life.Sixty-eight percent of Millennials don't want to see Roe overturned, and 72 percent of Republicans think abortion should be available.
In the report, researchers found:
During the 2014 state legislative session, lawmakers introduced 335 provisions aimed at restricting access to abortion. By the end of the year, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions. Including these new provisions, states have adopted 231 new abortion restrictions since the 2010 midterm elections swept abortion opponents into power in state capitals across the country.
Bucking this tide, legislators in 17 states introduced 95 measures designed to expand access to abortion, more positive measures than in any year since 1990.
The large number of recently enacted abortion restrictions has dramatically reshaped the landscape for women seeking an abortion. In 2000, 13 states had four or five types of abortion restrictions in effect and so were considered hostile to abortion rights. By 2010, 22 states were considered hostile to abortion rights; five that were extremely hostile. By 2014, the number of hostile states has increased to 27, and of those, 18 are extremely hostile. The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights.
The proportion of women living in hostile states has surged as well. In 2000, 31 percent of women of reproductive age lived in a state hostile to abortion rights, with no women living in a state with enough restrictions to be considered extremely hostile. By 2014, 57 percent of women lived in a state that is either hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.