More than half of American women now live in a state actively trying to deny them abortion care

According to new data, only 30 percent of women live in a state considered supportive of reproductive rights

Published January 3, 2014 3:55PM (EST)

               (AP/Orlin Wagner)
(AP/Orlin Wagner)

By now you've already read the year-end roundups, so you know what a dismal year 2013 was in terms of reproductive rights. This week, the Guttmacher Institute added some context to recent trends in abortion policy by comparing the reproductive health restrictions passed over the last three years to those from the previous decade.

The findings will probably make you feel angry. (Maybe read this list of optimistic predictions about reproductive justice for 2014 to self-soothe.)

Some excerpts from the Guttmacher report:

  • Twenty-two states enacted 70 abortion restrictions during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. To put recent trends in even sharper relief, 205 abortion restrictions were enacted over the past three years (2011–2013), but just 189 were enacted during the entire previous decade (2001–2010).
  • This legislative onslaught has dramatically changed the landscape for women needing abortion. In 2000, the two states that were the most restrictive in the nation, Mississippi and Utah, had five of 10 major types of abortion restrictions in effect. By 2013, however, 22 states had five or more restrictions, and Louisiana had 10.
  • In 2000, 13 states had at least four types of major abortion restrictions and so were considered hostile to abortion rights; 27 states fell into this category by 2013. In contrast, the number of states supportive of abortion rights fell from 17 to 13, while the number of middle-ground states was cut in half, from 20 to 10. The proportion of women living in restrictive states went from 31% to 56%, while the proportion living in supportive states fell from 40% to 31% over the same period.

And charts to illustrate these findings:


And a video to illustrate my feelings:

Full report here.

By Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at

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