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January 11, 2011

NARAL Pro-Choice America Statement on Report Regarding Abortion Access in the U.S.

Washington, D.C. – Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called a Guttmacher Institute report regarding the state of abortion-care access in this country a mixed picture for American women.

The report shows that the incidence of women choosing abortion was virtually unchanged between 2005 and 2008. In that time period, more women were able to access medical abortion (RU 486), a non-surgical abortion option that terminates a pregnancy within the first nine weeks.  Unfortunately, the study also reports that 87 percent of U.S. counties do not have an abortion provider. In the few counties where a health center that provides abortion exists, these providers are experiencing even more harassment.

“The fact that nearly 90 percent of counties in this country do not have an abortion provider is a striking illustration of the challenges many women face in accessing abortion care, particularly women in rural or under-served areas,” Keenan said. “It is equally discouraging that the very providers who are helping to close this access gap are reporting more harassment than they were three years ago. “

Keenan, whose organization will release its annual report analyzing the legislative landscape for reproductive rights in Congress and state governments later this week, said that the current political environment is not encouraging for efforts to help prevent unintended pregnancy.

“Americans agree that the best way to help prevent unintended pregnancy is to improve women’s access to birth control,” Keenan said. “Our data will show that politicians are out of step with the public. In 2010, the number of laws enacted restricting women’s access to abortion outnumbered laws improving women’s access to reproductive-health services, including contraception, by a nearly 4-to-1 margin. This amounts to hypocrisy, as the very same lawmakers who are attacking legal abortion refuse to support measures that help reduce the need for abortion in the first place.”

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