WASHINGTON, DC — New data released today from the Guttmacher Institute shows that states have enacted 51 new abortion restrictions in the first six months of 2015, despite the fact that Americans overwhelmingly support a woman’s right to access safe, legal abortion without government interference. This follows an avalanche of state-level restrictions on safe, legal abortion, with states enacting 282 restrictions on abortion since 2010 - many under the false guise of safety.
Abortion is one of the safest procedures performed in the U.S. Data, including from the CDC, has shown abortion has a 99 percent safety record. Restrictions passed at state level don't support women's health and in fact hurt women by reducing access to safe abortion, through delays and restrictions, as well as the means to prevent unintended pregnancies.
The report highlights multiple statewide trends in the first half of 2015, including an influx of medically unnecessary restrictions including forced delay periods, politically motivated facility requirements, restrictions on abortion after the first trimester, and the administration of medication abortion. Several of these laws have recently been temporarily blocked by the courts.
Statement from Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“State and local lawmakers may not be able to outright ban women’s access to safe, legal abortion, but that hasn’t stopped them from trying. Abortion restrictions and bans are passing in states across the country, and they are jeopardizing women's health and safety. In large parts of this country, women have the right to safe, legal abortion, but politicians are preventing them from exercising that right.
“The millions of women who come to Planned Parenthood and other women’s health care providers each year are not coming to make a political statement. They’re coming because they need access to high-quality, affordable, and compassionate health care. Layering on medically unnecessary restriction after restriction just leaves women with fewer and fewer trusted places to turn.
“This avalanche of restrictions has given rise to millions more women, men, and young people stepping up to fight back. Thanks to an outpouring of support, Planned Parenthood has been able to open new health centers across the country. And together, we were able to beat back bad bills, and push forward new laws that increase women’s access to care.
“Lawmakers be warned: There’s a new generation of women leading this fight -- they’re storming state capitols, protesting outside of Governor’s mansions, and making sure their voices won’t be ignored.”
Leading medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists oppose laws intended to restrict access to safe, legal abortion — because they pose a risk to women’s health by reducing access to safe medical care.
For more than 40 years, ever since Roe, more than two-thirds of the public has supported that decision and said abortion should remain safe and legal. Two recent Gallup polls found increases in support for abortion access and increases in people who say abortion is morally acceptable:
- The percentage of the public that think abortion is morally acceptable is higher than it’s been in 14 years.
- Only 19% of the public wants to ban abortion. Americans increasingly consider themselves “pro-choice.”
A VOX/PerryUndem in March also found that:
- 87 percent of poll respondents said that a woman seeking an abortion should receive medically accurate information.
- 70 percent of respondents said women shouldn't have to drive more than 60 miles to get an abortion.
- 70 percent also said a woman should be able to access abortion without added burdens.
In November, when voters had the chance to vote directly on anti-women’s health measures, they rejected them soundly. Voters in Colorado and North Dakota rejected “personhood” measures with large majorities. Voters defeated a key state house sponsor of the North Dakota personhood legislation, as well as one of the bill’s most outspoken advocates.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With approximately 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
July 01, 2015