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 recent years, NARAL pursued a policy campaign entitled Prevention First, urging lawmakers to do more to help women prevent unintended pregnancy. The effort has been a resounding success: much of the initiative has been enacted. At the federal level, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and its resulting policies now require health plans to cover — at no cost — preventive-health services for women, including the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods.
Additionally, while not an element of the Prevention First initiative, the ACA requires health plans to cover maternity and newborn care — a major and long-overdue development. These landmark improvements for women's access to reproductive-health care went into effect for all newly issued plans on August 1, 2012.
Meanwhile, as a consequence of the 2010 election, there were very few pro-choice state governments in 2012, and thus, disappointingly, few legislative opportunities.
Total Pro-Choice Measures Enacted in 20121:
- 6 states enacted 8 pro-choice measures in 2012.
- Vermont enacted the most pro-choice legislation in 2012, with 3 measures.
- 2012 marks the eighth year in a row that Colorado has enacted a pro-choice measure.
Key Pro-Choice Victories in 2012:
- California enacted a law that extends the duration of a pilot project, the Access Through Primary Care Project, which permits nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives, and physician assistants to provide early abortion care. The project expands access to abortion for women in areas where there are few physician providers.
- Vermont and Indiana improved low-income individuals' access to reproductive-health services by expanding eligibility for the state Medicaid family-planning programs.
- Vermont also enacted a measure to provide interim access to family-planning care until the state could officially implement expanded Medicaid eligibility for family planning.
- Michigan and Vermont enacted laws that promote healthy childbearing.
- Colorado enacted a law that protects the confidentiality of patients' medical records when accessing prenatal services.
In 2013, anti-choice advocates surely will continue to attack reproductive rights and try to impose new restrictions on abortion that could test the constitutional right to choose. When that happens, NARAL Pro-Choice America, NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, our affiliates, and our allies will work to defeat them. We will continue to demonstrate that we have the commonsense position on abortion — and a whole range of other issues — including preventing unintended pregnancies and expanding access to reproductive-health care for all women.
States that Enacted Pro-Choice Measures in 2012
1 This report uses the term "measures enacted" to refer to statutes and resolutions adopted by the legislature or enacted by ballot measure. "Laws" refers to constitutional provisions, statutes, regulations, court decisions, approved ballot initiatives, opinions of state attorneys general, and implemented policies.