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New Report Shows State-Level Attacks on Choice Skyrocketed in 2011


New ReportShows State-Level Attacks on Choice Skyrocketed in 2011;

Analysis Shows2012 Could Be Even Worse for Women’s Freedom and Privacy

Agenda that opens door to morepolitical interference in women’s personal, private decisions out of touch withnation’s values and priorities

Washington,D.C.—Today NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation released the 21stedition of WhoDecides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States,the nation’s most comprehensive report on choice-related laws. The report showsthat states enacted more than twice as many anti-choice measures in 2011 as theprevious year, and the legislative landscape could open the door to even more attacksin 2012.

"Thefindings in this report should spur every American who values freedom andprivacy into action,” Keenan said. "Last year, we predicted that our opponentswould ignore the public’s call to focus on the nation’s immediate challenges,such as the economy. Sadly for women, our predictions came true at near-recordlevels. Lawmakers waged a War on Women, and as a result, women in many stateswill see more political interference in their personal, private medicaldecisions. In some cases, women could lose access to reproductive-healthservices they currently have.”

Keenansaid 26 states enacted 69 anti-choice measures in 2011, the second-highestnumber since the organization started tracking such data in 1995. The record is70, set in 1999. Since 1995, states have enacted 713 anti-choice measures.

Keenansaid two pro-choice governors, Mark Dayton of Minnesota (D) and BrianSchweitzer of Montana (D), vetoed anti-choice bills and kept 2011 from breakingthe record for state-level attacks. NARAL Pro-Choice America dedicated thepublication to these gubernatorial champions.

Theoutcome was quite different in other states. For instance, while former Gov.Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas (D) vetoed eight anti-choice bills over the courseof her tenure, her successor, Gov. Sam Brownback (R), signed five anti-choicebills into law in his first year in office. Kansas tied with Arizona andFlorida for enacting the most anti-choice measures this year.

"Anelected official’s position on choice matters,” Keenan said. "A governor can beeither a firewall to protect a woman’s right to choose or the person who signsaway women’s freedom and privacy.”

Keenanalso said that 2012 could be even worse for women’s reproductive rights. Theorganization’s analysis of state government shows that 44 states are underanti- or mixed-choice control. In these situations, there is either no way tostop anti-choice bills like abortion-coverage bans or proposals to de-fundfamily-planning programs, or a governor’s veto is at risk of being overridden.So as devastating as last year’s legislative session was for anti-choiceproposals, given this legislative climate across states, next year could beeven worse.

Overview of State Action in 2011 and Outlook for 2012

2011: A Look Back

Pro-Choice Progress

·Sixstates enacted 10 pro-choice measures in 2011.

·Californiaenacted the most pro-choice legislation in 2011, with four measures, includinga law to protect the confidentiality of reproductive-health professionals andpatients.

·Coloradoenacted a law that improves sex education for young people, marking the seventhyear in a row that the state has enacted a pro-choice law.

·Californiaand Colorado joined Idaho and Oregon in enacting laws that promote healthychildbearing.

·Marylandand Washington improved low-income women’s access to reproductive-healthservices by expanding eligibility for their state Medicaid family-planningprograms.

·InNovember, Mississippi voters rejected a so-called "personhood” ballot measurethat would have outlawed abortion and potentially banned common forms of birthcontrol, in vitro fertilization, and stem-cell research.

Anti-Choice Attacks

· 26 states haveenacted 69 anti-choice measures in 2011.

· Arizona, Florida,and Kansas enacted the most anti-choice legislation in 2011, with five measureseach.

· Alabama, Idaho,Indiana, Kansas, and Oklahoma enacted pre-viability bans on abortion care after20 weeks.

· Nine states –Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia –passed bans on insurance coverage of abortion.

· Kansas and Virginiaimposed onerous regulations on abortion providers that are intended to shutdown all clinics that offer abortion care.

· Arizona passed alaw that denies charitable tax status to any organization that provides, refersfor, or provides coverage of abortion.

· Arizona also becamethe first state in the nation to enact a criminal ban on abortion if the doctorfails to determine that the race or sex of the pregnancy is a factor in thewoman’s decision.

2012: A Look Ahead

Thefollowing analysis illustrates that, as far-reaching as the attacks were in2011, the choice-related composition of state governments foreshadows thepotential for even more attacks in 2012.

Currently19 states have anti-choice governments (the governor and legislature areanti-choice); while another 25 states have mixed-choice governments. Therefore,44 states have the potential to enact anti-choice measures. NARAL Pro-ChoiceAmerica examined the 2012 outlook for five key anti-choice trends:

Mandatory-Ultrasound Laws

  • This type of law requires doctors to perform an ultrasound, even if it’s not medically necessary and even against the woman’s will.
  • Number of anti-choice or mixed-choice states with ultrasound laws: 8
  • Number of additional states that could enact this type of law in 2012: 36

Abortion-Coverage Bans

  • These laws prohibit insurance companies from selling health-care plans that include abortion coverage.
  • Number of anti-choice or mixed-choice states with an abortion-coverage ban: 16
  • Number of states that could enact this type of law in 2012: 28

Nebraska Copycat Bans

  • This type of law bans abortions after 20 weeks without exceptions for women’s health, or pregnancies that result in rape or incest. These laws copy a 2010 Nebraska ban.
  • Number of anti-choice or mixed-choice states with a Nebraska copycat ban: 6
  • Number of states that could enact this type of law in 2012: 38

Race- and Sex-Selection Bans

·This bancriminalizes doctors who fail to determine if race or sex is a factor in awoman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy.

·Number ofanti-choice or mixed-choice states with a race- or sex-selection ban: 4

·Number of statesthat could enact this type of law in 2012: 40

Affiliation Bans

  • This type of law disqualifies abortion provides from receiving state funds for other health services. These bans severely hinder health centers’ efforts to provide even the most basic health care to many.
  • Number of anti-choice or mixed-choice states with some kind of affiliation ban: 11
  • Number of states that could enact this type of law in 2012: 33

Contact:Ted Miller, 202-973-3032


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