The Facts on Reproductive Freedom
Looking for in-depth information on issues related to reproductive freedom? Our reports, fact sheets, and polling are respected by academics and reporters as valuable resources. Please contact us with questions related to any of these documents.
For decades, anti-choice organizations based in the U.S. have been working to preserve Ireland’s 8th Amendment of its constitution, which effectively bans abortion, showcasing just how far these groups will go to try to strip women -- not just in the U.S., but also abroad -- of their right to make decisions about their own bodies, future...
Pro-choice measures enacted during 2017 cover wide-ranging topics, from measures to improve contraceptive access, including requirements that health-insurance plans cover 12 months of contraception at once, to policies that promote healthy childbearing, to measures that protect pregnant women in the workplace.
The anti-choice movement has spent decades finding new ways to insinuate themselves into our government, our policies, and our politics. They’ve been working tirelessly to build political power and pursued small victories that help stack the deck in their favor.
This report summarizes the state of women's access to reproductive-health care nationwide, including legislation enacted in the states in 2016.
A new NARAL Pro-Choice America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund survey in four key Senate battleground states demonstrates that voters support women’s reproductive health, want to support candidates who do as well , and will vote on the issue.
How many members of Congress and governors support and oppose reproductive freedom? Find out where this stands now and how it changed from the before the 2016 elections.
A summary of recent public opinion polls on reproductive health care.
Congress' bans on abortion coverage harm women who receive health-care coverage through the government, such as women enrolled in Medicaid, Medicare, and the Indian Health Service; U.S. servicewomen and veterans; federal employees; Peace Corps volunteers; low-income women in Washington, D.C.; and others.
Anti-choice members of Congress pass legislation every year that denies federal employees the opportunity to choose a private health plan that includes comprehensive coverage of reproductive-health services.
Unable to ban abortion outright, anti-choice politicians and activists have worked to make abortion inaccessible to as many women as possible by banning insurance coverage for the procedure.
The decision of anti-choice members of Congress to bar the District from using its own locally raised revenues for abortion services usurps the prerogatives of the local D.C. government and tramples the rights of District residents.
The Affordable Care Act brought more than 30 million Americans into a better health-care system than existed previously.
In a last-minute deal, anti-choice former Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) won inclusion of a number of abortion-related provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the national health-reform law passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in March 2010.
In 2011, anti-choice lawmakers, led by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), launched a new attack on a woman’s right to choose: the deceptively titled the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” (H.R.7 in the 114th Congress).
The Affordable Care Act ushered in a new era in women’s reproductive-health care by guaranteeing that most health-insurance plans cover contraception without co-pay.
Title X has been a pivotal part of the nation’s family-planning program for more than 45 years, providing millions of women with services ranging from contraception to pap smears and breast-cancer screening.
Title X of the Public Health Service Act is the cornerstone of the federal domestic family-planning program: it is the only federal program exclusively dedicated to family planning and reproductive-health services.
Disqualifying abortion providers from participating in major health-care programs can cause clinics to shutter their doors and ultimately reduce the number of sites available for women to get all types of medical care.
So-called "defunding laws" disqualify health centers that offer abortion services from seeing patients in government health-care programs, such as Title X, Medicaid, and other state public-health programs.
Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control are emboldened because of laws referred to as refusal laws (sometimes called “conscience” laws), which permit a broad range of individuals and institutions—including hospitals, hospital employees, health-care providers, employers, and insurers—to refuse to provide, pay, couns...
"Abstinence-only" programs provide young people with medically inaccurate information and do nothing to ameliorate the problem of teen pregnancy.
One of the most striking disparities between public opinion and public policy relates to “abstinence-only” programs.
Emergency contraception (EC), also known as the “morning-after” pill, can substantially reduce a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant when taken soon after sex. EC does not cause abortion; rather it prevents pregnancy.
The distinction between the emergency contraception (EC) and medication abortion (also known as mifepristone or RU 486) is important, especially since anti-choice lawmakers are trying to restrict women’s access to these and other reproductive-health services.
The global gag rule effectively blocked funds from organizations that provide family-planning services, as well as other critical health services, to some of the poorest women in the world.
During the years that the global gag rule was in effect, it resulted in dramatic drops in funding to organizations worldwide that provide necessary family-planning services and other health-care services and an increase in abortion.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) provides crucial funding for family-planning services, as well as other essential health services, for some of the poorest women in the world.
Enacted in 1973, the Helms amendment has resulted in a near-total ban on U.S. assistance to some of the world’s poorest women who need abortion care.
Continued political attacks on mifepristone provide a prime example of how anti-abortion forces are putting public health at risk.
Mifepristone has been tested extensively and used safely and effectively worldwide since 1981, and in the United States since 2000.
Mandatory parental-involvement (consent and notice) laws do not solve the problem of inadequate family communication; they only exacerbate a potentially dangerous situation.
National medical and public-health organizations support confidential health services for young people.
The Federal Abortion Ban outlaws certain second-trimester abortions that doctors have said are necessary to protect some women’s health. The law has no exception for cases when a woman’s health is in danger.
40 years after the Supreme Court recognized the right to choose with Roe v. Wade and the vital importance of women’s health, attacks on women’s privacy, and on health protections in particular, continue.
Bans on abortion care after 20 weeks are a blatant attempt to deny women their constitutional rights. These laws interfere in the doctor-patient relationship, the sanctity of which is a cornerstone of medical care in our country.
Race- and sex-selection abortion bans are false solutions to the real problems of racism and sexism. These abortion bans co-opt civil-rights language and use it to attack reproductive rights.
The most strident anti-choice advocates are pushing for an all-out ban, and have chosen among the most far-reaching approaches to reach their goal of banning abortion: so-called “personhood” measures.
One anti-choice tactic to make abortion inaccessible is TRAP laws (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers). TRAP rules impose significant burdens on health-care providers, with the goal of forcing them to shut their doors.
The Federal Refusal Clause, also known as the Weldon amendment, is a wide-sweeping and controversial federal law that threatens women’s access to reproductive-health care by blocking federal, state, and local governments from enforcing their own pro-choice laws and contracts.
The Federal Refusal Clause is a sweeping exemption from laws and regulations that ensure that women have access to abortion services.
This fact sheet discusses the history of refusal laws, current legislative activity on refusal laws, and some of their many effects on Americans’ ability to access quality, comprehensive health care.
This fact sheet provides a summary of refusal provisions in current federal law, followed by the text of the laws.
A campaign of violence, vandalism, and intimidation is endangering reproductive-health care providers and patients and curtailing the availability of abortion services in the United States
Prohibiting women from using their own funds to obtain abortion services at military facilities is not only discriminatory but endangers their health and denies women a constitutionally protected right.
The right to choose should not be dependent on one’s source of health insurance, and this is especially true for our servicewomen. When a woman signs up to serve her country, she should not be signing away her reproductive rights.
Servicewomen deserve the same standard of care as civilian women. That includes access to emergency contraception (EC) on military bases.
Anti-choice claims of "post-abortion syndrome" have been disproven by a long line of credible, scientific research.
School-based health centers (SBHCs) provide both primary and preventive services to children and adolescents at schools across the country.
Teens must be able to obtain confidential and affordable reproductive-health services.
The anti-choice movement has for years tried to restrict, control, and manipulate the information women facing unplanned pregnancies receive. To do so, they have built a national network of anti-choice organizations, some of them posing as comprehensive health-care clinics – called “crisis pregnancy centers” (CPCs).
The pro-choice community supports the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) – a measure that would codify Roe v. Wade’s protections and guarantee the right to choose for future generations of women.
As part of their strategy to make abortion illegal and unavailable, anti-choice forces make unsubstantiated claims that legal abortion is harmful to women’s health. The fact is that the decriminalization of abortion in the United States in 1973 has led to tremendous gains in protecting women’s health.
When Roe v. Wade was decided in January 1973, abortion except to save a woman’s life was banned in nearly two thirds of states.
For four decades, unable to make abortion illegal again, anti-choice legislators have tried to make the procedure nearly impossible for women to obtain. One of their most aggressive tactics has been to put abortion services financially out of reach for as many women as possible by banning insurance coverage of abortion services in govern...
The Women’s Health Protection Act is a modest first step against the cascade of medically unnecessary and politically motivated restrictions on access to abortion, and ensuring that all women have access to reproductive-health care, regardless of their zip code.
Forced ultrasound legislation effectively mandates that all women seeking abortion services undergo an ultrasound, even if not medically necessary, and even if it is against a woman’s will.
For more than 20 years, opponents of reproductive rights have raised a series of (unproven) alarmist claims about the practice of tissue donation. Then anti-choice lawmakers attempt to capitalize on the accusations as a means of advancing their longstanding goals of restricting research, stigmatizing and terrifying abortion providers out...
Learn about important Supreme Court cases related to reproductive freedom.
A campaign of violence, vandalism, and intimidation is endangering providers and patients and curtailing the availability of abortion services in the United States.
Emergency contraception (EC) holds tremendous potential for reducing the number of unintended pregnancies. In order to realize EC’s full potential to prevent unintended pregnancy, policymakers need to take several additional steps.