Terrifying (but awesome) graphs show state-by-state abortion restrictions

Remapping Debate has produced some sobering, eye opening graphs cataloging abortion restrictionsin the US. And it ain’t pretty (except the graphs totally are).

Graph of state-by-state abortion restrictions
Click here
to view and play with the full size graphs.

Remapping Debate has included an option to modify graphs to show state-by-state restrictions based on which type of law you consider most severe. Advocates of course have their own views on the impact of different sorts of restrictions:

Various pro-choice advocates contacted by Remapping Debate focused on “targeted regulation of abortion providers,” or “TRAP” laws, as the restrictions with significant impact, although they were unable to provide specific studies on the extent of the impact.

Beyond TRAP laws, Elizabeth Nash, a public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, cited a study done by the Institute indicating that waiting period laws, which require women to take at least two trips to a clinic in order to obtain an abortion, have a “real impact.” The study, done in Mississippi, found that following the enactment of a waiting period law, “the actual number of abortions performed in Mississippi was 22 percent lower than expected based on previous years.”

On the anti-abortion side, Carrie Gordon Earll, the senior director of CitizenLink, the advocacy arm of Focus on the Family, and attorneys at Americans United for Life said that studies they relied on identified parental notification and consent laws as most effective at reducing abortion rates.

Which is fascinating, because evidence suggests parental notification actually doesn’t have that much of an impact. I’m almost glad anti-choicers are excited about an apparently ineffective tactic, except no not at all, it still totally sucks.

Broken record time: we cannot afford to have a movement just focused on the legal right to abortion when that right is increasingly irrelevant to a growing number of people who need the procedure. If you can’t actually get an abortion who gives a shit if it’s technically legal? We must have a movement focused on abortion access. Because if people can’t actually access abortion, we’ve lost.

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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  • http://feministing.com/members/bhuesca/ BHuesca

    I actually think that physician requirements, after a certain gestational age, are a really good idea. I understand that this ties in with the scarcity argument, but to be frank, I can’t see having even a tonsillectomy without a physician doing it. And a later-term abortion, at say 5-6-7 months gestation, involves the removal of something a heck of a lot larger than tonsils.

    I guess what I’m saying is- I wouldn’t want an unlicensed physician performing surgery on me. Or my daughter. Or my sister, or mother, or any of the other uterus-inclined Feministing commentariat, either.