More than half of all reproductive age U.S. women now live in states hostile to abortion rights.

March 20, 2012 • Reproductive Health, United States, Daily Email Recap

Edmund Levering sent me this article, published by Guttmacher Institute. See:


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Significant Increase Seen Over Past Decade As Many “Middle Ground” States Shift To “Hostile;” Little Change Among “Supportive” States

Fifty-five percent of all reproductive-age U.S. women lived in a state hostile to abortion rights in 2011, up significantly from 31% in 2000, according to a new Guttmacher Institute policy analysis. The increase is the result of a dramatic shift in the abortion policy landscape at the state level over the past decade, including a record number of abortion restrictions that were enacted in 2011.

“In 2000, the country was more evenly divided: nearly a third of women lived in states solidly hostile to abortion rights, slightly more than a third in states supportive of abortion rights and close to a third in middle-ground states,” says Rachel Benson Gold, Guttmacher’s director of policy analysis. “By 2011, however, more than half of women of reproductive age lived in hostile states. This growth came largely at the expense of the states in the middle. Only one in 10 women lived in a middle-ground state by 2011.”

The analysis finds that most states-35 in total-remained in the same category in all three years (see above). However, of the 15 states whose abortion policy landscape changed substantially, all became more restrictive. Two formerly supportive states had moved to the middle-ground category by 2011, and one had become hostile. And 12 states that had been middle-ground in 2000 had become hostile by 2011. In 2000, 19 states were middle-ground and only 13 were hostile. By 2011, 26 states were hostile to abortion rights, and the number of middle-ground states had been cut in half, to nine ( click here for a map illustrating the change over time).

“The regional differences are striking,” says Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher’s state issues manager.

“West Coast and Northeastern states remained consistently supportive of abortion rights. But a swath of states in the middle of the country moved from being middle-ground states in 2000 to hostile in 2011. And of the 13 states in the South, half were hostile in 2000-but all had become so by 2011.”

The authors conclude that shoring up the remaining states in the middle-ground group may be key to stopping the further national erosion of abortion rights-and that efforts to do so may well be successful. They also argue that these states may be ripe for progress on related reproductive and sexual health issues such as contraception and sex education.

To read the full article, please click here:

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