In the Past 3 Years, We’ve Enacted More Abortion Restrictions Than During the Entire Previous Decade

Written by Tara Culp-Ressler

Over the past three years, state legislatures enacted a staggering 205 restrictions on reproductive rights, according to a new report from the Guttmacher Institute. That figure, spurred by record-breaking numbers of restrictions each year since 2011, already exceeds the number of restrictions that were enacted during the entire previous decade. Between 2001 and 2010, states passed just 189 abortion restrictions.

Ninety two abortion restrictions were passed in 2011, the year that still tops the chart. That number dipped to 42 provisions in 2012, which was the second-highest number of new restrictions at the time. 2013 continued the trend that kicked off in 2011, climbing back up to 70 anti-choice provisions.

As Guttmacher researchers point out, the dramatic increase between 2012 and 2013 was mainly driven by just a handful of states that had a particular focus on restricting access to abortion this past year: North Dakota, Texas, Arkansas and North Carolina. None of those states enacted any abortion restrictions in 2012 (the first two didn’t have a legislative session, and the last two had more moderate lawmakers back then). But in 2013, they were collectively responsible for 26 of the new anti-abortion provisions — including some of the harshest laws the country has seen since Roe v. Wade — despite massive public outcry against them.

According to Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the timing of the recent legislative onslaught is no coincidence. “The historic rise of these attacks on women’s health can be traced back to 2010, when out-of-touch Tea Party politicians picked up key seats in legislatures across the country, promising to create jobs and boost our economy — but immediately focused on ending access to safe and legal abortion and limiting women’s health care options,” Richards said in a statement in response to Guttmacher’s new data.

That political landscape has had dramatic consequences for women living in states across the country. Back in 2000, Guttmacher defined 13 states as “hostile” to abortion rights because they had at least four major abortion restrictions on the books, and about 31 percent of U.S. women of reproductive age lived in those places. By 2013, the number of hostile states swelled to 27 states — and now, over half of women in need of reproductive health care live in a place where they will likely struggle to terminate a pregnancy.

The number of states that Guttmacher ranks as “supportive” of women’s health dropped from 17 to just 13 over that same time period. California is the most notable example of a state that actually took a stand to safeguard abortion rights, passing several pieces of legislation to expand women’s access to abortion and prevent clinics from being unfairly targeted. There are a few glimmers of hope that more states will follow in the Golden State’s lead in 2014. Pennsylvania lawmakers recently introduced a sweeping package of legislation to protect women’s health, and lawmakers in New York are gearing up for a similar initiative after falling short last session.

This post was originally published in ThinkProgress

Photo credit: Thinkstock


Jerome S
Jerome S10 months ago


Jim V
Jim Ven10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

A F.
Athena F4 years ago

Thank you for the article

pam w.
pam w4 years ago

Fern D...."Dear Sharon H, I am not ashamed of anything I said, but have learned that there will always be some old lady trying to shame me for something."

Well, aren't YOU just the most intelligent little cookie in the box?

Dale O.

True. Pamela W, when you state that if some of the men who are so very adamant against the right to choose when it comes to the issue of abortion would be the first to jump on the bandwagon of having the right to choose if they themselves were capable of having children.

Since men have in the past (and often many more of them do so in the here and now) are the ones writing the laws and legislating on the issue of the right to choose regarding abortion, one can certainly come to the conclusion that there would not be much in the way of barriers to the freedom of choice if men were able to get pregnant.

Dale O.

Pamela W, the answer to your question about what the female equivalent to a misogynist is, here is a definition. The numbers below are rather interesting to note:

"A misogynist is a man who hates women. A woman who hates men can be described as a misandrist, and the corresponding noun is misandry. But however prevalent the attitudes described by these words may be, the words themselves aren't common. There are currently only 23 examples of misandrist in the Oxford English Corpus, while misogynist appears more than 1,200 times; 37 uses of misandry are overshadowed by 1,592 examples of misogyny."

Dale O.

While swimming in the rough seas of the abortion debate one can also run into the rather prickly sea urchin which often has quite the ‘street person’ (urchin) vocabulary (their first language is Guttersnipe). Urchins often engage people in 'debate' with the F word. (Urchins sometimes trip over their own spines while attempting debate, making themselves look foolish). These urchins are often seen attempting to 'do maths' while floundering at 'grammar' and some even like to pretend that they are medical personnel (they sometimes try to use scalpels while slamming on the Caps Lock) because some of the sea urchins were originally a subspecies of hard based coral before morphing into sea urchins with sharp spines often used as barbs against others in their attempts to 'debate' or to be more accurate, engage in their own style of monologue.

Pamela W.
Pamela W4 years ago

What is the female equivalent to "misogynist" (it just escapes me for the moment) ? Anyway, not wishing to sound like one of them, you do all realize that if MEN were the ones who got pregnant we wouldn't even be having this discussion, don't you ? Come to think of it, this planet would NOT be so overpopulated either LOL !!! Just a thought to leave you with, as I think I'm going to "turn in" early tonight. So "Goodnight" to all and let's hope that the weather forecasters are right and that this cold-snap is going to ease up .... keep warm and be safe everyone !!

Karen H.
Karen H4 years ago

Republicans in the House of Representatives are looking to make 2014 another banner year for anti-abortion laws. A panel of 12 MEN on the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on a bill Thursday that would deny tax subsidies to women and small businesses who purchase health insurance plans that include abortion coverage.
The Republican National Committee has announced it plans to delay its annual winter meeting this year so members can attend the annual March for Life, an anti-abortion rally in Washington, D.C.
Now’s the time to bombard your representatives to tell them how you feel.