NARAL Pro-Choice America Releases Annual “Who Decides” Report on the Landscape of Reproductive Freedom in the States
For Immediate Release: Monday, March 8, 2021
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Washington, DC — Today, NARAL Pro-Choice America released the 30th edition of its annual report: Who Decides? The Status of Reproductive Freedom in the United States. Reproductive freedom remains in peril as anti-choice lawmakers across the country, determined to criminalize abortion, have worked in overdrive to push restrictions on reproductive freedom.
Notably, NARAL’s new report finds that 23 states and the District of Columbia enacted 63 measures expanding reproductive freedom, while 14 states enacted 18 measures restricting reproductive freedom in 2020. Fewer measures were enacted than the previous year due to many legislatures closing early in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NARAL’s chapters, affiliates, and 2.5 million members—in partnership with allies and activists all across the country—worked tirelessly together to protect and expand reproductive freedom.
“This past year made clear that the anti-choice movement and politicians hostile to reproductive freedom will not hesitate to subvert science and disregard people’s health, lives, and wellbeing in pursuit of their extremist ideology,” said Christian LoBue, NARAL Pro-Choice America Chief Campaigns & Advocacy Officer. “The landscape for reproductive freedom is perilous, especially with a conservative supermajority now on the Supreme Court and anti-choice lawmakers dead set on ending Roe v. Wade. But even as Roe stands, it falls short of the promise of ensuring every body has the freedom to make their own personal decisions about their families and their futures. Lawmakers hostile to our rights continue to push abortion care further out of reach for many people, especially people of color. While the stakes are high, NARAL and our members will remain on the front lines—organizing, lobbying, campaigning, and voting—and are committed to a future in which freedom is for every body.”
Reproductive freedom remains in jeopardy despite the fact that 77% of Americans support the legal right to abortion, and the fact that there is no state in the country where banning abortion is popular.
Across the country in 2020, anti-choice politicians in state legislatures worked in overdrive, advancing bills to ban abortion and criminalize pregnant people and providers to advance their agenda of power and control. Below are just a few examples:
- Idaho and Utah both passed trigger bans that will criminalize abortion automatically if Roe v. Wade is overturned.
- Florida enacted legislation requiring people under 18 to obtain notice and consent from a parent or legal guardian in order to receive abortion care.
- Three states passed laws directing funding to fake women’s health centers: Florida, Idaho, and
- Tennessee passed the most expansive anti-choice bill last year— an exhaustive list of restrictions meant to chip away at and ultimately end the right to abortion. The bill included a forced ultrasound mandate, a provision allowing for political interference in family decisions, and cascading bans on abortion at almost every stage of pregnancy, including before many even know they’re pregnant.
Against a backdrop of anti-choice attacks, many states moved to safeguard reproductive freedom. NARAL’s members were on the frontlines of many of these efforts, helping to elect reproductive freedom champions and organizing and advocating for policies to protect and expand abortion access. For example:
- Virginia passed the Reproductive Health Protection Act, repealing many longstanding restrictions on abortion in the state, including mandates that people who are pregnant receive biased counseling, undergo a mandatory ultrasound, and wait at least 24 hours prior to an abortion.
- The Massachusetts state legislature overrode Governor Charlie Baker’s veto to enact legislation that removes critical barriers to accessing abortion care in the state.
- Voters in Colorado defeated a proposed ban on abortion later in pregnancy that would have forced someone to carry a pregnancy to term with no exceptions for risks to health, a lethal fetal diagnosis, or cases of rape.
- California removed an outdated physician supervision requirement for Certified Nurse-Midwives, improving pregnancy and birth outcomes and expanding access to affordable, high-quality abortion care.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.