Report Card: U.S. Receives ‘D’ for Abortion Care Access in 2014

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Report Card: U.S. Receives ‘D’ for Abortion Care Access in 2014

Nina Liss-Schultz

Though the number of anti-choice laws enacted in states across the United States fell to 27 last year, from 52 in 2013, the country still deserves an overall "D" grade for access to abortion services, according to a report released Wednesday by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Though the number of anti-choice laws enacted in states across the United States fell to 27 last year, from 52 in 2013, the country still deserves an overall “D” grade for access to abortion services, according to a report released Wednesday by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

Since 1995, states have enacted 835 laws that restrict abortion access, according to the report.

Insurance coverage bans, forced waiting periods, and medically unnecessary TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion provider) laws were the most popular of the laws enacted last year. Other pieces of legislation passed included laws to support deceptive crisis pregnancy centers and to specifically restrict minors’ access to abortion, as well as a ban on providing information about abortion in public schools.

Sixteen states were responsible for the 27 pieces of legislation. The state with the most anti-choice laws enacted was Louisiana, which saw four pieces of new legislation. Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Virginia each enacted two new pieces of anti-choice legislation.

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Of course, dozens of anti-choice bills were introduced across the country but failed to pass. The bills that did pass in 2014 will only compound an already bleak landscape for abortion access; last year dozens of clinics shut down around the country, and the Supreme Court dealt several blows to reproductive rights.

If the first two weeks of the new year are any indication, 2015 will see a spate of state-level anti-choice laws to rival recent years. Adding to that is the wave of anti-choice bills sure to be taken up by Congress following its Republican takeover in November. Indeed, in the first three days of the new Congressional session Republican legislators introduced five anti-choice bills.

But the news isn’t all bad for reproductive rights advocates. More pro-choice measures were enacted in 2014 than in any year since 2008, indicating that while conservatives are still dominating state legislatures, pro-choice lawmakers are making some modest gains, particularly in California, which received an “A+” in NARAL’s report.