According to a just-released report card from NARAL Pro-Choice America, the United States gets a “D” grade overall for the poor state of reproductive rights across the country.
Half of all states, however, didn’t even make that dismal mark and received failing grades—in a tie with last year’s record high number of flunking states.
“At a time where polls show the majority of Americans support legal access to abortion, this report shows that federal legislators in our nation’s capital are continuing to prioritize a rollback of women’s rights while states have begun to stem the tide of anti-choice laws that riled voters in 2014,” said Ilyse Hogue, president of NARAL, in a press statement.
The study, released annually by NARAL and its corresponding foundation, is entitled Who Decides? The Status of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the United States.
This year’s report card did identify some good news from 2014. The number of pro-choice measures enacted in states jumped slightly from 16 in 2013 to 22 in 2014. This included three pro-choice laws in California alone, a New Hampshire buffer zone to product patrons of reproductive health clinics, laws enacted in nine states to boost workplace protections for pregnant women, and more. The following image from the report illustrates this development.
Furthermore, while 52 anti-choice laws were enacted in 2013, the following year saw less of an increase in such laws, with 27 anti-choice measures enacted in 2014.
However, these 27 anti-choice measures, along with key court decisions, did considerable harm to reproductive rights last year.
“This year, the Supreme Court struck down a law protecting patients and health-care providers entering abortion clinics,” the report states. “The court also sided with corporations in saying their employees need their bosses’ permission to get birth-control coverage in their insurance plans… And across massive swaths of America, especially in the South, women’s health clinics are closing as punitive, politically motivated laws targeting abortion facilities take effect.”
The report adds, “Laws requiring waiting periods, forced ultrasounds, and medically inaccurate lectures prior to receiving abortion services put more roadblocks between women and the care they need.”
Furthermore, the overall trajectory shows a steady increase in anti-choice measures, as demonstrated in the following graph from the report.
It is not only abortion, however, that is under attack.
The NARAL report card comes on the heels of an analysis by the New York-based Guttmacher Institute which finds that anti-choice groups have waged a nationwide misinformation campaign in a bid to cut away at access to commonly used contraceptives, including Plan B and IUDs.