Chart of the Day: States with the most abortion restrictions are the worst on women’s and children’s health

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I doubt any readers of Feministing have bought into the pseudo-feminist anti-choice rhetoric claiming that abortion restrictions are simply about “protecting women” and “patient safety.” After all, it’s obvious that preventing access to abortion is itself damaging–leading to everything from poorer health to a greater risk of domestic violence to, oh I dunno, getting thrown in jail.

But in case you needed more evidence that the politicians who are so deeply worried about dangers posed to women by the width of the doorways in abortion clinics don’t give two shits about women’s and children’s health otherwise, just take a look at this new report.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and Ibis Reproductive Health teamed to “determine if the concern that anti-choice advocates and legislators say they have for women and children translates into the passage of state policies known to improve the health and well-being of women and children, or into improved state-level health outcomes for women and children.” And–spoiler alert!–they found that states with the most abortion restrictions also tend to do the worst when it comes to women’s and children’s well-being.

The researchers found negative correlations between the number of anti-choice laws and indicators of women’s health, children’s health, social determinants of health, and, above all, the number of policies that support women and children. While the analysis didn’t control for poverty, which obviously affects health outcomes, the researchers note that poverty can’t explain all the variation between states. It seems some state lawmakers are so busy getting on their high horse about abortion they have little time left to focus on passing policies that actually help the families they claim to care so much about.

As the report concludes: “It’s time for them to check their priorities.”

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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