Proactive Abortion Rights Victories in 2016 & 2017

Posted on November 8, 2017

This report focuses on proactive policy, that is, legislation to expand abortion rights in states and localities. We do so because proactive strategy must be a central component of our work, even in jurisdictions controlled by conservatives. Only a proactive strategy makes news, frames the debate, and dictates timing. Only a proactive strategy forces opponents to shift their resources and time to defend unpopular positions. Only a proactive strategy shapes the broader political environment.*

Codify Roe v. Wade

In 2017, Delaware enacted SB 1, which guarantees the right to abortion as laid out in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade. The bill also repeals obsolete anti-abortion statutes. With Delaware, now 13 states protect Roe: AK, CA, DE, FL, HI, ME, MA, MD, MT, NJ, NM, NV, WA. Legislation to codify Roe, AB 6221, also passed the New York Assembly in 2016.

Insurance coverage for abortion

In 2017, Oregon enacted HB 3391, also known as the Reproductive Health Equity Act, which requires health insurance policies across the state to cover abortion, as well as contraception and other reproductive health services, at no cost to the patient.

Also in 2017, Illinois enacted HB 40, to allow Medicaid funding for most abortions, as well as insurance coverage of abortion for state employees.

Preventing fraud by crisis pregnancy centers

In 2017, Hawaii enacted SB 501, which requires anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers to post and distribute notices about the availability of abortion and reproductive health services in the state.

Clinic protection

In 2016, California enacted AB 2263, which protects individuals who work at reproductive healthcare clinics by prohibiting entities from publicly posting their home addresses.

Prevent employer discrimination based on reproductive decisions

In 2016, Delaware enacted HB 316 to prohibit discrimination against an employee, or potential employee, based on his or her reproductive health decisions.

In 2017, the St. Louis City Council passed Board Bill 203, which prohibits discrimination based on a person’s reproductive health decisions.

The California Assembly passed AB 569 in 2017 and the New York Assembly passed AB 1142 to prohibit similar employer discrimination.

Right to abortion information

In 2016, Illinois enacted SB 1564, which amends the Health Care Right of Conscience Act to ensure that patients receive timely access to information and medically appropriate care.

Clinic funding

In 2017, Maryland enacted SB 1081 and HB 1083 to provide financial support to abortion clinics if federal funding is cut.

Also in 2017, the California Treasurer John Chiang made Community Clinic Lifeline Grants available to facilities that provide abortion services.

Abortion is Healthcare resolutions

In 2017, the Colorado House passed HR 1005, which declares that abortion and other reproductive health care are essential rights for all residents.

In 2017, the Austin, Texas City Council and Travis County, Texas Commissioners Court passed Abortion Is Health Care resolutions.

In 2017, the Mayor of Houston, Texas issued a proclamation declaring that Abortion Is Health Care.

* This report does not include either anti-abortion legislation that progressives seek to defeat or strictly “repealer” bills that would reverse previously enacted anti-abortion legislation, subjects that are fully addressed elsewhere.