The past few years have not been good ones for reproductive rights. (Photo: Getty Images)
A new report out today from the Guttmacher Institute shows that 57 percent of women now live in a state considered to be hostile or extremely hostile to abortion rights.
(Graphic: Guttmacher Institute)
In the past four years, 231 restrictions have been placed on abortion by various states.
Researchers found that during the 2014 legislative session, 335 provisions to restrict abortion access were introduced. By the end of 2014, 15 states had enacted 26 new abortion restrictions.
(Graphic: Guttmacher Institute)
And yet these restrictions do not sync with public opinion.
A recent Gallup poll showed that Americans are greatly in favor of maintaining Roe v. Wade, with an abortion approval rating of 53 percent, versus 29 percent who disapprove. Furthermore, 52 percent of all Americans believe that abortion should be legal “under certain circumstances,” a stance that goes against many of the legislative restrictions introduced this past year.
Research from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that 58 percent of Americans believe that health care professionals should be available in their communities to perform legal abortions.
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The Gallup poll also showed that a growing number of young adults have no opinion as to the status of Roe v. Wade, which suggests that “the generation born entirely after Roe became law has had less exposure to information about the decision than those who lived through the original decision.” The PRRI also found that millennials are more likely, at a rate of 68 percent, than the general public to believe that some health care professionals in their community should provide legal abortions.
In a statement, Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said,“This report shows that the right to safe and legal abortion exists in name only for far too many women in America today, particularly low-income women who are hurt most by these restrictions that require people to drive hundreds of miles and make multiple trips for no medical reason. We see firsthand the consequences of politicians inserting themselves into women’s personal health care decisions, from women who come to Planned Parenthood health centers after traveling long distances or delay seeking care because they can’t access it. Politicians are not medical experts, but politicians have written these laws with the ultimate goal of making safe, legal abortion hard or even impossible to access. These laws actually endanger women and are deeply unpopular with the American public.”
And yet, as Planned Parenthood pointed out after the midterm elections in November this past year when voters in Colorado and North Dakota were given the opportunity to directly express their views on so-called personhood amendments that could ban abortion, they rejected them overwhelmingly.
“As we look ahead to what will surely be another tough year for women’s health, our focus is on making sure women have access to the care they need and are able to make their own health care decisions,” concluded Richards in response to the Guttmacher data. ”In the months ahead, we’ll work alongside our supporters on the ground to defeat dangerous restrictions and instead pass laws to expand access for reproductive health care and affordable birth control.”
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