Reproductive Rights Bills Being Introduced Across 18 States

Posted on January 25, 2017

With a wave of bills sweeping the country, abortion-rights policymakers signal they will not cede any ground to forces trying to restrict abortion

[PLI Press Release] WASHINGTON, DC—Jan. 25, 2017—Elected officials from 18 states intend to jointly introduce legislation to protect or expand the right to abortion, standing together for reproductive freedoms in the face of the right wing’s anti-abortion agenda emboldened by Donald Trump’s election. The announcement was made today by the Public Leadership Institute (PLI), a policy organization that works with state and local legislators across the nation.

The coordinated bill announcements, introductions, and events are timed to coincide with the 44th anniversary of Roe v. Wade on Sunday, January 22, 2017. The states participating include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Bills are also being introduced in local municipalities in Austin and Travis County, Texas.

“Lawmakers and activists in the states are fighting back for abortion rights,” said Gloria Totten, founder and president of PLI. “Donald Trump may think he can steamroll anti-abortion policy at the federal level but legislators, councilmembers and commissioners—standing beside local activists—are going to fight him every step of the way.”

National polls have consistently shown that voters want to keep abortion legal and accessible. Earlier this month, the Pew Research Center found that 69 percent of Americans support the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade and only 28 percent want it overturned. A separate poll, commissioned by PLI and conducted by “the best pollster in politics” Ann Selzer during August 2016, confirmed that 69 percent favor Roe and, at the same time, found that at least 60 percent of Americans support ten different proactive abortion rights bills, and at least 75 percent support seven of those measures.

While the abortion rights bills and local ordinances being introduced differ from state-to-state, each one supports the majority opinion that abortion should be legal and accessible, and that reproductive health care should be medically accurate. Many of the bills are adopted from or modeled after legislation published by PLI in the Playbook for Abortion Rights – a unique resource for policymakers, advocates and the public that provides 29 model policies necessary for improving women’s access to abortion care and shifting the debate about abortion.

“With abortion rights now under attack at the federal and state levels, it is more critical than ever for lawmakers and advocates to champion proactive legislation that will reverse the tide of anti-abortion restrictions in the states and preserve a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decisions about abortion,” said Totten.