In case you haven’t noticed, there is a war going on in the United States: a war on women.
If you suspected this, but weren’t quite sure, a new report from the Guttmacher Institute policy analysis will confirm your worst nightmares.
According to the report, 55 percent of all reproductive-age U.S. women lived in a state hostile to abortion rights in 2011, up significantly from 31% in 2000, as many “middle ground” states have shifted to “hostile” over the past decade.
We’ve been documenting many of these developments at Care2, and you can read all about them in detail here.
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.
From The Guttmacher Institute:
“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. 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.
The map that Guttmacher provides presents a clear picture: west coast and northeastern states have remained consistently supportive of abortion rights. But in the middle of the country, a number of states have 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 of the report also endeavor to add a break in the gloomy news.
From The Guttmacher Institute:
“There is certainly ample precedent of reproductive rights supporters in those states stopping or blunting restrictive abortion bills,” says Gold. “And they have had some other noteworthy successes in recent years in enacting a proactive agenda to expand access to sexual and reproductive health-related services. For instance, Colorado has mandated contraceptive insurance coverage and Wisconsin has expanded access to comprehensive sex education.”
But today, we’re seeing yet another attack on women’s rights, in a different arena: Republican senators are threatening to block the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which investigates and prosecutes violent crimes against women.
Will this war never stop? What do the Republicans have against women?
Photo Credit: naralprochoiceamerica