Anti-Immigrant and Anti-Choice Laws Popping Up In Same States


Written by Elena Shore

2011 saw a record number of laws restricting abortion in U.S. states. It also saw a record number of state anti-immigrant laws. Coincidence?

Maybe not.

In 2011, U.S. states enacted 135 new reproductive health provisions, 92 of them seeking to restrict abortion.

In 2000, 13 states were considered “hostile” to reproductive rights; by 2011, that number had doubled to 26 states, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Last year, more than half of women of reproductive age (15-44) were living in states that were hostile to abortion, up from less than one-third in 2000.

This map shows the trend toward restricting reproductive rights, primarily in the Midwest and the South. Of the 13 states in the South, half were considered hostile to reproductive rights in 2000; all had become hostile by 2011.

But 2011 was also a record year for anti-immigrant legislation. Five states (Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, South Carolina, and Utah) passed anti-immigrant bills modeled after Arizona’s 2010 law, SB 1070. An analysis by Mother Jones found that 164 anti-immigration laws were passed by state legislatures in 2010 and 2011. The map can be viewed here.

It turns out these maps look strikingly similar.

Here’s a look at five states where anti-immigrant and anti-choice efforts converge:

1. Alabama – In 2011, Alabama passed HB 56, considered to be the nation’s strictest state immigration law. It also enacted legislation banning abortion at 20 weeks from fertilization.

2. Indiana – In 2011, Indiana enacted an anti-immigrant law modeled after Arizona’s SB 1070. A federal judge blocked part of the law last summer, shortly before it was set to take effect. Indiana enacted legislation banning abortion at 20 weeks from fertilization.

3. Georgia is about to become the sixth state to ban abortion at 20 weeks from fertilization, with no exemptions for rape or incest. The Georgia House and Senate passed the bill, and it’s now on its way to Republican Gov. Nathan Deal, who is expected to sign it into law. Last year, Deal signed into law another controversial bill in Georgia – the state’s Arizona-inspired anti-immigrant law HB 87.

4. Arizona – the first state to pass an anti-immigrant state law, SB 1070, making it illegal to be an undocumented immigrant in the state — is now cracking down on reproductive rights. The Arizona state Senate passed a 20-week abortion restriction, which is now heading to the House. In 2011, Arizona required doctors to be in the same room as the patient when prescribing medication abortion. It also moved to require that a woman obtain an ultrasound prior to having an abortion. Last month, the Arizona Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would have allowed employers to drop health insurance coverage for birth control.

On April 25, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments over Arizona’s immigration law. Gov. Jan Brewer is challenging a ruling by a federal judge that blocked parts of the state law, and she is taking the case to the Supreme Court in a decision that is expected to have a ripple effect on the other five Arizona-style state laws. (A federal court in Atlanta announced they wouldn’t even rule on challenges to the Alabama and Georgia laws until they heard the Supreme Court ruling on Arizona’s SB 1070.)

5. Mississippi almost passed an anti-immigrant state law, which was derailed in 2011, thanks in part to opposition by African-American legislators. Another Arizona-style anti-immigrant bill died in the state Senate this week. In 2011, Mississippi voters defeated an initiative that would have restricted women’s access to both abortion and contraception by defining the term “person” under the state constitution as “every human being from the moment of fertilization.”

What do these states have in common? They reflect a shift in demographics. Although they don’t have the largest immigrant populations in the country – in fact, far from it — these states have experienced the biggest percentage increase in new immigrants.

That’s because immigrants are increasingly settling outside of the traditional destinations of California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Illinois. They are moving instead to the “new destination” states in the South and central United States: North Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Tennessee, Nevada, South Carolina, Kentucky, Nebraska, Alabama and Utah.

In the 2000s, the immigrant population in those states grew by about twice the national rate.

And when it comes to growth in the Latino population, it’s worth noting that the two states that saw the biggest increase in Latinos enacted two of the strictest immigration laws in the country. Alabama saw a 145-percent increase in its Latino population between 2000 and 2010, the second-highest Latino growth rate in the nation, after South Carolina.

Now, as the election approaches, voters could get a chance to vote out legislators who passed these laws. Except that these are also the same states that passed new rules at the voting booths that will make it harder for minority voters to cast their ballots in November.

This post was originally published by New America Media.


Related Stories:

The Reality of Banning Abortion At 20 Weeks

Mississippi Ties To Close State’s Only Abortion Clinic

No, GOP, Immigration Detention is No ‘Holiday’


Photo from Jorge Quinteros via flickr


LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for info.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for info.

Dale Overall

Intriguing that Tamara believes only people living in a specific state may gripe about a state law if they disagree.
Tamara, welcome to the Global Community. No one cares where you live anymore-people comment on what a nation, state, province or other body may do when it comes to human rights and other topics. Get a grip. If someone wants to complain about Canada doing such and such (or they do not like the politics of the governing party) and live in Reykjavik, Iceland I am not going to cry in my maple syrup about it.
People love to see what goes on elsewhere be it on Care2 or Facebook and when they see something untoward going on they will put their two cents in (the penny is being discontinued in Canada in the fall!) or lira or whatever.

KS Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

C.M Padget
Carolyn Padget5 years ago

Well said, Billie C!

I would give yu a green star, but I do not have access to since I am not linked to anyone on the site :(

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

If more women don't realize that their rights are speedily being taken away by the narrow minded politicians and don't act by voting them out of office, there will come a day when they will ask themselves, what happened to my rights?? By that time it will be too late. The future of women who have to put up with all this injustice of being attacked on contraception, abortion, and closing the Planned Parenthood offices which have helped with cancer screenings, pregnancies and many others is leading them down the path to second class citizenship. Women have so much power but they don't realize it, and if they do they don't use it. If women went on strike in the kitchen and the bedroom I believe things would change quickly and for the better. Look at the voting records of all the politicians and use the Power of your VOTE and remove any politician of any party that tries to take away your rights.

Tony C.
Tony C5 years ago

When you try and vote the party of NO out you better make sure that you can vote. Some States have changed their voter registration laws so that even if you wanted to vote you won't be able to. PLEASE CHECK the voter registration laws of the States that you live in NOW, so that you can have the right ID when it comes time to vote. PLEASE tell ALL your friends about this, especially students, seniors, immigrants and the poor. I am sure that the 1% will be flocking to the voting booths so that they can retain their power and money. The 99% had better start THINKING about what will happen if the republicans get in again. For example, no contraceptives which will lead to more people. Right now 8 BILLION PLUS. No abortions even for sick babies, unwanted babies because of rape or incest. No Jobs, undrinkable water because of fracking, war with Iran, no health care. Abstinence programs only, which do not work and many others. Sex Education is needed so that unwanted pregnancy and abortion can be lessened along with STD’S that can KILL your child. So if you don't vote and get as many as you can to vote along with you and the republicans get into power this may and probably will happen. Here is an idea, car pool with a car full to the voting booths (saves gas) and after you vote, have a party and KNOW that you have done your best for your country. Have a designated driver. PLEASE REMEMBER, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE.

Lynn C.
Lynn C5 years ago

Well...yeah! No surprise. Green star going to Ira.

Charles Yheaulon
Charles Yheaulon5 years ago

Ira L said it all ....but the teabagers are NOT the 1% they are the poor dupes of the1% running around "packin' "guns ready to shoot "them" ,.....them being whoever the 1% say they are,keep your gov. hands off my medicare. Why do you think they want to de fund schools and get rid of teachers,....dumb is easy to control.

Inga S.
Inga S5 years ago

Mandi A. = We better got to Mexivo by their rules or we will be in prison for life or executed. That is Their Law!