The Conversation

America Became Increasingly Pro-Life in 2013

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute, the non-profit research arm of Planned Parenthood, finds that more abortions restrictions were implemented in 2013 than in any other year save 2011. The number of states Guttmacher classfies as "hostile" to abortion has doubled since 2000.

Despite its rooting interest in the outcome, Guttmacher's methodology is straightforward enough. It subdivides state legislation into 10 categories which represent obstacles to getting an abortion. These can include things like parental notification, waiting periods, laws regulating abortion facilities, etc. Any state which has at least 4 of these in place is considered hostile.

As you can see in the map below, the number of states which restrict abortion has more than doubled since the year 2000:

Here's Guttmacher's explanation of the findings from 2011-2013:

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.

The legislative shift happened after a surge in GOP control of state legislatures in 2010. It was likely also helped along by the Gosnell murder case which brought media attention (and identifiable victims) to the issue of late-term abortion. Several states including Pennsylvania and Texas passed new restrictions aimed at stopping future Gosnell-like clinics.

The shift also coincides with broader national attitudes toward abortion. A Rasmussen poll taken this summer found the number of people self-identifying as pro-choice was down to 46 percent, nearly on par with the 43 percent who consider themselves pro-life.


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