Rachel Benson Gold joined the staff of the Guttmacher Institute in 1979 and is currently Director of Policy Analysis in the Institute’s Public Policy Division. Her expertise is on the delivery and financing of publicly funded family planning services in the United States. She is the author of several reports and articles in the field of reproductive health services and financing, and recently completed a comprehensive analysis of the national family planning effort and its role in an evolving health care system. Ms. Gold serves on the Board of Directors of the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association and is a Lecturer in Health Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Ms. Gold earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and a Master of Public Affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
While state legislators pushed through 20-week abortion bans and restrictions against fetal-tissue research in some states, there was progress on measures related to contraceptive access in places such as California, Illinois, and Vermont.
So far this year, legislators have introduced 1,256 provisions relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights. However, states have also enacted 22 measures this year designed to expand access to reproductive health services or protect reproductive rights.
The year will be remembered not only because 17 states enacted a total of 57 new abortion restrictions, but also because the politics of abortion ensnared family planning programs, providers, and life-saving fetal tissue research.
In the first six months of 2013, states enacted more than 100 provisions related to reproductive health and rights, including 43 restrictions on access to abortion—the second-highest number of abortion access restrictions ever at the midyear mark, and as many as were enacted in all of 2012.
Reproductive health and rights were once again the subject of extensive debate in state capitols in 2012. Over the course of the year, 42 states and the District of Columbia enacted 122 provisions related to reproductive health and rights. One-third of these new provisions, 43 in 19 states, sought to restrict access to abortion services.
In the first half of 2012, states enacted 95 new provisions related to reproductive health and rights. As was the case in 2011, issues related to abortion, family planning funding and sex education once again were significant flashpoints in many legislatures .