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Key Findings: Pro-Choice Policy

NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation support a wide range of pro-choice policies that help protect every woman's right to make reproductive choices, including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and choosing safe, legal abortion.

In 2014, more pro-choice measures were enacted than any year since 2008. Policymakers are realizing what the public majority already knows: that protecting a woman's right to comprehensive reproductive-health care is the right thing to do.

Cumulative Number of Statewide Pro-Choice Measures Enacted since 2004*

Chart showing number of measures

* Note: Chart includes only state measures—not local ordinances.

Total Pro-Choice State Measures Enacted in 20141

  • 17 states and the District of Columbia enacted 22 pro-choice measures in 2014.
  • Once again, California enacted more pro-choice legislation than any other state in 2014, with three measures.
  • Maryland and Massachusetts enacted the second highest number of pro-choice measures in 2014, with two measures.

Key Pro-Choice Victories in 2014:

  • The California Department of Managed Health Care determined that any insurance plans that eliminate coverage, or place limits on coverage of abortion care, run afoul of state law and the California constitution, effectively requiring coverage of abortion by all plans in the state. This is the first such policy in the nation and stands in stark contrast to the 26 states that ban abortion coverage, either in their health-insurance exchange or in the entire statewide private insurance market.
  • California also enacted a measure strengthening the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive-coverage policy, ensuring that health-insurance plans cover without copay all FDA-approved contraceptive products. This law marks another first-in-the-nation win for reproductive-health care.
  • Massachusetts enacted a new clinic-protection law limiting anti-choice harassment and violence outside reproductive-health clinics. The law was approved a month after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Massachusetts' 35-foot clinic-buffer zone.
  • New Hampshire lawmakers, also concerned with clinic violence, enacted a law that provides a buffer zone of up to 25 feet around reproductive-health clinics.
  • Vermont repealed its unconstitutional and unenforceable pre-Roe ban on abortion care.
  • Maryland and Massachusetts approved laws that prohibit shackling of incarcerated pregnant women.
  • Minnesota enacted the Women's Economic Security Act which, among other things, promotes healthy childbearing, prohibits pregnancy- and childbirth-related discrimination, and improves pregnancy and parenting leave policies.
  • Nine states enacted laws to improve workplace protections for pregnant women: California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, and Washington.

Pro-Choice Local Measures Enacted in 2014:

  • The Seattle city council approved unanimously a resolution calling on Congress to lift all bans on abortion coverage, including the Hyde amendment, so that every woman, whatever her income level, can get affordable, safe abortion care.
  • San Francisco updated and improved its clinic-protection law.

States that Enacted Pro-Choice Measures in 2014

1 This report uses "laws" to refer to statutes adopted by the legislature or enacted by ballot measure. "Measures" is a broader term that includes the following: constitutional provisions, statutes, court decisions, ballot measures, opinions of state attorneys general, state policies, and other governmental action with statewide effect.

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