As Roe v. Wade comes under further attack, report indicates a pivotal moment for reproductive freedom in 2020
For Immediate Release: February 6, 2020
Today NARAL Pro-Choice America released the 29th edition of its annual report: Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Rights in the United States. While reproductive freedom is under attack in state legislatures and Roe v. Wade faces a perilous future with an anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court, supporters of the right to access abortion are also making meaningful strides to protect and expand reproductive freedom.
Notably, the report finds that 35 states and the District of Columbia enacted 96 pro-choice measures in 2019—an enormous increase over previous years and the largest number of pro-choice legislative victories in over a decade. Many of these victories were powered by the tireless work of NARAL’s chapters, affiliates, and 2.5 million members, in partnership with allies and activists all across the country.
Despite the fact that more than seven in 10 Americans support Roe v. Wade and legal access to abortion, 2019 also saw a decided shift in anti-choice extremism at the legislative level, as 23 states enacted 50 anti-choice measures. Roe v. Wade is under threat like never before; with an anti-choice majority on the Supreme Court, lawmakers hostile to the right to access abortion have launched an all-out assault on reproductive freedom in hopes of ending Roe.
“Now more than ever, the aims of the anti-choice movement are clear: They’re committed to ending Roe v. Wade by any means necessary, criminalizing abortion, and punishing women,” said Ilyse Hogue, NARAL Pro-Choice America President. “But every draconian law at the state level was matched by unprecedented levels of outrage and organizing, and key electoral victories in 2018 paved the way for state legislative victories across the country as well.”
As the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments on June Medical Services v. Gee, the first major case related to abortion since Brett Kavanaugh joined the court, access to abortion will largely be determined at the state level. In the face of anti-choice legislation introduced in multiple states this year, NARAL’s members were on the frontlines electing pro-choice champions and organizing and advocating for policies to safeguard reproductive freedom in 2019, the strongest of which include:
- Illinois, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont enacted measures to safeguard reproductive freedom by protecting the right to access contraception and abortion in state law. These measures made clear that in the face of challenges to Roe across the country, these states would lock in access to reproductive healthcare.
- Nevada’s governor signed a bill repealing old criminal abortion laws that had remained on the books, joining New York, Illinois, and Rhode Island in repealing outdated abortion laws on the books.
- Several states—including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington—passed over 30 measures aimed at addressing the maternal mortality crisis, making it the most prolific trend in legislation affirming reproductive freedom in 2019.
- Legislators in Illinois and Maine expanded the pool of qualified healthcare providers who can provide abortion care in the state.
Anti-choice lawmakers believe that the end of Roe is in sight, and are no longer afraid of showing their true agenda: criminalizing abortion, and punishing women and the doctors who provide care. NARAL Pro-Choice America will continue to work to safeguard and expand reproductive freedom across the states.