NEW REPORT: State Policy Trends Show a Rapid Escalation in Dismantling Abortion Access, Attacking Democracy Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic
For Immediate Release: March 26, 2021
While the nation continues to battle COVID-19 pandemic, state legislatures across the country are pushing medication abortion bans and restrictions, anti-abortion constitutional amendments, and other incremental abortion restrictions.
Washington — Today, Planned Parenthood Federation of America released a new report that shows state abortion bans and restrictions are escalating as part of a larger agenda rooted in white supremacy. Trending this year are medication abortion bans and restrictions, anti-abortion constitutional amendments, and other incremental restrictions that further roll back access.
These types of regressive reproductive health care bills are being pushed alongside bills restricting voting rights and bills targeting the LGBTQ+ community — all aimed at disproportionately harming people of color, women, people with low incomes, and LGBTQ+ people. While many of these states have repeatedly failed to take critical and recommended steps to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, state politicians did continue to wage a relentless attack on basic rights and freedoms, including abortion. The report, with data compiled from Guttmacher Institute, shows:
- At a time when patients trying to survive a pandemic depend on telehealth and medication abortion to manage their abortion at home, politicians tripled the number of medication abortion restrictions introduced compared to this time in 2019, pre-pandemic.
- State politicians have introduced 14 anti-abortion constitutional amendments — more than three times the number compared to this time in 2019. Many of the same politicians pushing these constitutional amendments are also backing voting restriction bills, meant to further disenfranchise people. We’ve seen as many anti-voter bills pending in states — more than 300 — as anti-abortion bills.
- State politicians are enacting incremental abortion restrictions at a rapid pace — 12 abortion restrictions have been enacted this year, compared with only one enacted by this time in 2019.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president and CEO, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
“Make no mistake: These abortion restrictions are about power and control over our bodies. Attacks on reproductive health care disproportionately harm the same people who have been hit hardest by COVID-19, and who are struggling the most to make ends meet — women, people of color, people with low incomes, and LGBTQ+ people. These policies are designed to make it harder for people to exist. And we also know it is these very people that have kept our economy running and worked essential jobs on the front lines of this pandemic.
“Planned Parenthood is committed to ensuring that everyone can access abortion. And we know that fight is inextricably tied to a broader fight for human rights.”
While the Biden administration is starting to take action to strengthen sexual and reproductive health care, it’s clear that the gravest threats are at the state level. Despite these attacks, a number of states are working to protect and expand abortion access. In several states across the country, legislators are working toward, and actually passing, legislation to repeal abortion bans and ensure abortion remains safe, legal, and accessible in their states, no matter what happens in the federal courts. Planned Parenthood and our partners will continue working to protect and expand abortion access in states across the country.
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 more than 600 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.