Let's face it. These are challenging times for those of us committed to protecting reproductive rights. Thirty-nine years after Roe v. Wade protected access to abortion, we are facing a growing tide of legislative efforts to restrict it.
We saw many challenges to choice, birth control and women's privacy in 2011. According to the Guttmacher Institute in New York, state legislators introduced more than 1,100 reproductive health and rights-related provisions last year compared to 950 in 2010. Of the 1,100 introduced in 2011, 135 were enacted in 36 states, an increase from the 89 enacted in 2010 and the 77 enacted in 2009. Almost 70 percent of these restricted access to abortion.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that we are winning on many fronts. Remember Mississippi? Anti-choice activists were sure they could get a personhood initiative passed that would declare a fetus a person and severely restrict contraception. They failed miserably because we and other reproductive rights activists were successful in educating the public about what that initiative would mean for women.
Governor Schweitzer vetoed bills last session that would have restricted abortion access in Montana.
And just last week the White House refused to cave into anti-choice extremists who wanted to broaden exemptions for contraception coverage.
And though anti-choice activists are becoming more active than ever, support for reproductive rights are still strong. A recent survey by the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health found that a strong majority of Latina/o registered voters support access to abortion.
Challenges are still many, though. So stick with us as we continue our work to protect reproductive rights.