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Key Findings: Threats to Choice

In the 2010 elections, anti-choice politicians seized control of many state legislatures, vowing to focus on the nation's economic challenges. Once elected, however, these same lawmakers abandoned their promise and instead launched a War on Women. Now, for the third straight year, women have paid the price for this bait-and-switch strategy as anti-choice lawmakers took every opportunity to restrict further the right to choose.

Cumulative Number of Statewide Anti-Choice Measures Enacted Since 1995*

Chart Showing Cumulative Number of Statewide Anti-Choice Measures Enacted Since 1995

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

Among the 53 anti-choice state measures enacted in 2013, the most prominent trends were: bans on abortion care after 20 weeks; measures prohibiting insurance coverage of abortion; and laws subjecting abortion providers to burdensome restrictions not applied to other medical professionals. Laws that single out abortion providers particularly threaten access to abortion care because they reduce further the already declining number of providers. Already, 87 percent of U.S. counties have no abortion provider, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Total Anti-Choice Measures Enacted in 2013:

  • 24 states enacted 53 anti-choice measures in 2013.
  • Arkansas enacted the most anti-choice legislation in 2013, with 8 laws. Oklahoma enacted 5 anti-choice laws, and Missouri and North Dakota enacted 4 anti-choice laws.
  • Since 1995, states have enacted 808 anti-choice measures.

Anti-Choice Measures Enacted in 2013 Included:

  • Arkansas, North Dakota, and Texas enacted bans on abortion care after 20 weeks.
  • Arkansas went even further by enacting a ban on abortion care after 12 weeks, and North Dakota went the furthest by enacting a law to ban abortion as early as six weeks— before many women even know they are pregnant.
  • Missouri enacted a law that allows pharmacies to refuse to stock contraceptives. North Carolina broadened its existing refusal law to allow more health-care providers to refuse to provide abortion services.
  • Arkansas, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania passed measures that prohibit coverage of abortion in the states' health-insurance marketplaces.
  • Georgia and North Carolina prohibited insurance coverage of abortion for government employees. Unable to restrict legislatively abortion coverage for public employees, the Georgia Department of Community Health selected a new insurance plan for the state's public employees that excludes coverage of abortion.
  • Kansas and Oklahoma enacted laws restricting state funds from going to Planned Parenthood or to any health center that provides abortion care. These types of laws make it difficult for reproductive-health centers to provide birth control, prenatal care, and cancer screenings to low-income women who rely on those centers for their primary health-care needs.
  • Arkansas, Indiana, Mississippi, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin enacted forced-ultrasound laws.
  • Alabama, Indiana, Louisiana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, and Wisconsin imposed onerous restrictions on abortion providers that are intended to make abortion care all but unavailable to women in the state.
  • South Dakota worsened its mandatory-delay law that already forces women to wait 72 hours before accessing abortion services now to define the 72-hour period as applying only to business days, excluding state and federal holidays.
  • Iowa enacted a first-of-its-kind restriction on low-income women's access to abortion that requires the governor personally to approve each and every payment to a hospital or clinic that provides abortion services to a woman insured through the state's Medicaid program.

Local Anti-Choice Measures

In recent years, anti-choice politicians and organizations have broadened their efforts beyond the federal and state levels and are attempting to impose their political agenda on local governments too. As just one example, anti-choice protestors across the country have reported rifling through local governments' financial records and then lobbying—successfully—those governments to cancel long-standing contracts with any comprehensive reproductive-health-care clinic identified in those records. In 2013, anti-choice organizations grew even bolder and turned their focus to localities. In Albuquerque, NM voters rejected 55 percent to 45 percent a local ballot initiative to ban abortion at 20 weeks.

States That Enacted Anti-Choice Measures in 2013

Map of States That Enacted Anti-Choice Measures in 2013


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