Attacks on Women's Health Took Their Toll in 2011: Record Number of Restrictions Passed
Apparently, 2011 was a very busy year for many of our U.S. legislators — oh, not on the economy, or jobs or anything silly like that, but on setting a record for the largest number of restrictions on women's health care. Ever.
That’s right, a new report released by Guttmacher has found that 2011 held a record level of enacted (and attempted) legislation containing restrictions on reproductive health care. Just check out the chart above of what they managed to push through.
Elizabeth Nash at RH Reality Check reports:
In the 50 states combined, legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions, a sharp increase from the 950 introduced in 2010. By year’s end, 135 of these provisions had been enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Funding for family planning (you know, the programs that give us contraception, cancer screenings, and other super important preventive health care) took serious hits across the country. Think Progress on the state restrictions:
Nine states also passed laws making it harder to avoid pregnancy in the first place. Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Montana, New Hampshire, and Texas reduced funding for family planning programs, with the Lone Star State reducing its reproductive health budget by as much as 66 percent. Indiana, Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina [,] Texas and Wisconsin, meanwhile, “moved to disqualify or otherwise bar certain types of providers from the receipt of family planning funds” and “New Hampshire decided not to renew its contract through which the Planned Parenthood affiliate in the state received Title X funds.”
Wow, that is some effort, guys. Which is kinda funny, considering it seems like voters had a bit of a different idea of what the country should have been focused on. Let’s see:
• Over 50 percent of voters consistently say the economy is the most important issue facing the country today, that the economy and job creation are the issues they want Congress and elected officials to tackle. (November 2010: 56 percent [CBS News Poll] December 2011: 57 percent [CNN/ORC Poll])
• In the lead up to the 2010 election, 33 percent of Americans ranked job creation and economic growth as the “top priority” for the federal government, making it the top choice in the poll. (June 2010: NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll)
• Only two percent said social issues (such as gay marriage and abortion) should be the top priority, making it the least-popular choice. (June 2010: NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll)
As people were asking for a better economy, our political leaders managed to not only prioritize making it ridiculously difficult for women in this country to get health care — and let's not mince words — but also to launch an unprecedented level of attacks on women's health care. It's a stark indicator not only of where these legislators' priorities lie, but what's truly at stake in the upcoming elections.
Let's take back our health care for 2012. Sign the pledge.