NARAL Pro-Choice America Releases New Reports on Status of Reproductive Freedom in the States in 2021
For Immediate Release: Friday, January 21, 2022
Contact: [email protected]
Washington, DC — As states begin their 2022 legislative sessions, NARAL Pro-Choice America today released five issue briefs detailing the current status of reproductive freedom in the states. The reports also highlight the positive and negative 2021 state legislative actions impacting abortion care and access. The briefs focus on five key areas:
- States poised to ban abortion if Roe v. Wade falls;
- Bans on abortion by week;
- Bans based on the reason a person may seek abortion care;
- Bans based on the method of abortion; and
- Medication abortion care.
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju released the following statement:
“NARAL Pro-Choice America’s new issue briefs reaffirm that the threats to abortion rights and access have never been greater. Now, less than a month into 2022, we can already see anti-choice lawmakers ramping up their push to further interfere with our personal decisions about our health, lives, and families. With the Supreme Court poised to rule in a case this year that could overturn Roe, we need to do everything in our power to protect reproductive freedom. While some states have taken action to expand access to abortion care, this alone cannot fully address the crisis our nation faces, which will only become more acute if Roe falls.
The U.S. Senate must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) by any means necessary and protect the right to abortion throughout the United States. Additionally, NARAL Pro-Choice America and our 2.5 million members will be working across the country to hold accountable the elected officials, at the state and federal level, who put our freedom at risk.”
Reproductive freedom remains in jeopardy despite the fact that 8 in 10 Americans support the legal right to abortion. There is no state in the country where banning abortion is popular. Several state legislatures and governors last year listened to their constituents and took proactive steps to protect and expand abortion access in the face of unprecedented attacks, including:
✅ New Mexico repealed its pre-Roe total ban in 2021.
✅ Two states (HI, NJ) expanded the scope of practice to allow advanced practice clinicians to provide medication abortion care.
✅ Governors Roy Cooper (D-NC) and Tony Evers (D-WI) vetoed legislation that would have banned abortion based on the perceived reason a person was seeking care.
✅ Governor Evers also vetoed a bill that would have required providers to share stigmatizing, unproven information about medication abortion care.
Despite these positive efforts, there were a barrage of attacks on abortion access at the state level. These restrictions include:
❌ Arkansas and Oklahoma enacted total bans on abortion.
❌ Oklahoma and Texas enacted “trigger bans” to criminalize abortion if Roe is overturned.
❌ Iowa, Kansas, and Kentucky enacted measures to set up future anti-choice ballot initiatives to amend their state constitutions to undermine abortion rights.
❌ Four states (ID, OK, SC, TX) enacted bans on abortion as early as six weeks; though courts have blocked Oklahoma and South Dakota’s bans, and Idaho’s is not currently in effect.
❌ Montana enacted a ban on abortion after 22 weeks, which courts blocked.
❌ Arizona and South Dakota enacted bans on abortion based on the reason a person may seek abortion care.
❌ Four states (IN, MT, OK, TX) enacted bans on medication abortion after an arbitrary point in pregnancy.
❌ Six states (AR, AZ, MT, OK, SD, TX) enacted bans on dispensing medication abortion through the mail.
❌ Four states (AR, IN, OH, OK) enacted restrictions that force the prescribing clinician to be in the physical presence of the patient. This forces patients to make multiple, medically unnecessary trips to the clinic.
❌ Six states (AR, LA, IN, SD, OK, and WV) enacted a restriction that forces providers to share unproven information on “reversing” a medication abortion—health disinformation championed by the anti-choice movement.
Later this year, the Supreme Court will rule in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case regarding Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban that directly challenges Roe and could end the constitutional right to abortion. If the Mississippi law is upheld in this case, it will open the flood gates for anti-choice lawmakers in states to take immediate action to ban abortion. Should Roe fall, the consequences will be swift and devastating: 28 states would likely take action to prohibit abortion outright. Of those, 12 states already have “trigger bans” in place,which would ban abortion automatically.
In 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to block Texas’ vigilante-enforced abortion ban (SB 8) twice, giving anti-choice politicians across the country the green light to export Texas’ vigilante-enforced ban on abortion to their states. Since Texas’ SB 8 went into effect, anti-choice lawmakers in six states—Arizona, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Ohio, and Florida—have introduced copycat legislation, none of which has yet become law. Lawmakers in nine other states—Oklahoma, Georgia, Indiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia—have said they intend to export Texas’ draconian abortion ban to their states.
NARAL’s newly released reports underscore the urgent need to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA). WHPA would protect the right to abortion throughout the United States by creating a right for healthcare providers to provide abortion care and a corresponding right for people to receive that care, free from bans and medically unnecessary restrictions that single out abortion and block access.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, 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 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.