Chart of the Day: Over 200 new anti-choice state laws enacted in the last 4 years

Well, we knew 2013 was bad. And 2012 was almost as bad. And 2011 was actually the worst ever. So it’s no surprise that Guttmacher’s latest tally of state abortion restrictions shows that 231 abortion restrictions have been enacted in the past four years. 


The 26 new restrictions added to the tally in 2014 was out of a total of 335 anti-choice bills that state legislatures considered (so it could totally be worse) and it’s certainly an improvement over the few years prior.

Also on the good news front: pro-choice legislators went on the offensive last year more than they have in decades. State legislators introduced 95 bills to expand access to abortion, according to Guttmacher tally. More generally, a report from The National Institute for Reproductive Health highlights 70 proactive sexual and reproductive health care bills introduced in 32 states — and more than 30 of them became law. NIRH notes that these bills, even when they fail to pass, are helping turn the tide: “The very act of proposing and supporting such proactive legislation leads to change, allowing legislators and advocates the opportunity to share their views publicly, to educate new audiences and shift the public conversation, and to urge others to join in these efforts.”

Still, the tide can’t turn quickly enough and the Republican wins in the midterms promise we’ll see the same battles in 2015. Meanwhile, the anti-choice provisions passed in the last 4 years have taken a huge toll — and will continue to do so until they’re repealed. As restriction upon restriction has piled up, more than half of all women now live in a state that’s hostile to abortion access — including much of the South and the Midwest. And as I mentioned the other day, another 60 abortion clinics closed in 2014, leaving a total of just 551 clinics nationwide these days.

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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