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Report Shows New Legislative Landscape Could Undermine Women's Access to Legal Abortion and Other Reproductive-Health Care

Economy-dominated 2010 elections changed control of Congress and legislatures, but anti-choice politicians will use results as excuse to focus on choice


NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation today released the 20th edition of Who Decides? The Status of Women's Reproductive Rights in the United States, the nation's most comprehensive report on choice-related legislation and laws.

Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, said the public will be surprised to see lawmakers, in Washington, D.C. and in statehouses across the country pursue an aggressive anti-choice agenda that they did not ask for in last November's elections.

"My sincere hope would be for legislators to focus on the country's pressing challenges rather than undermining a woman's right to choose, but the outlook is not promising," Keenan said. "Anti-choice lawmakers, in their words and actions, are pushing for a wave of proposals that would open the door to more political interference in the doctor-patient relationship. This agenda is out of step with our country's priorities."

Keenan highlighted the report's key findings, from changes in the legislative landscape in 2001 to choice-related laws enacted in 2010.

Choice and Congress: The Change from 2010 to 2011

Pro-ChoiceMixed-Choice Anti-Choice
House155 34 246
(Change from 2010) -26 -14 +42
Senate40 14 46
(Change from 2010) -1 -5 +6

The State Governments: The Change from 2010 to 2011




Governor17* 5 29
(Change from 2010) - -7 +8
Senate**10* 19 22
(Change from 2010) -4 +3 +2
House 12 14 23
(Change from 2010) - -3 +3

* This figure includes the District of Columbia
** Nebraska has a unicameral body that is counted as a senate

After 2010 Elections, the Number of Anti-Choice State Governments Increases

In addition to the District of Columbia, six other states have pro-choice governments (both a majority of the legislature and the governor are pro-choice): California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Vermont.

There are 15 states with anti-choice governments (both a majority of the legislature and the governor are anti-choice): Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. That number is up from 10 in 2010.

Number of New Anti-Choice Laws in 2010 Outnumbers Pro-Choice Laws by Nearly 4:1 Margin

  • In 2010, the report shows nine states enacted nine pro-choice measures. Since 2004, states have enacted 317 pro-choice laws. This year, Wisconsin enacted a law that improves sex education in schools, marking the third year in a row the Badger State has enacted a prevention-related measure. Now this progress is in jeopardy as the state has an anti-choice governor and anti-choice majorities in the legislature.
  • In 2010, 16 states enacted 34 anti-choice measures, moving to 644 the number of anti-choice state measures since 1995. This year, Arizona enacted five anti-choice measures, more than any other state. As one example, Arizona, along with Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee, banned abortion coverage in the state-based health-insurance exchanges.
  • In 2010, Nebraska enacted a law that bans abortion at 20 weeks, without an adequate exception for threats to a woman's health, for cases in which the pregnancy was the result of rape or incest, or for cases of fetal anomaly. The law targeted Dr. LeRoy Carhart, whose practice is located in Nebraska. He is one of only a few abortion providers for women who experience complications later in their pregnancies that threaten their health, or that could make it hard for them to have children in the future. Anti-choice groups are threatening to replicate this law in other states in 2011.

The report, which includes a summary of federal and state laws as well as individual state grades, may be found at

For over 50 years, Reproductive Freedom for All (formerly NARAL Pro-Choice America) has fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom at the federal and state levels—including access to abortion care, birth control, pregnancy and post-partum care, and paid family leave—for everybody. Reproductive Freedom for All is powered by its more than 4 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 8 in 10 Americans who support legal abortion.