The number of states considered “extremely hostile” to abortion rights more than tripled over the past four years, according to a new report.
In 2010, there were five states with at least a half dozen abortion restrictions on the books, enough to earn that label from the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think tank. By last year, the number of states with at least that many restrictions rose to 18.
The recent uptick extends a longer-term trend of passage of abortion restrictions, according to Guttmacher. The number of simply “hostile” states — those with at least four abortion restrictions on record — has risen from 13 in 2000 to 22 in 2010 to 27 in 2014.
“The entire South is now considered hostile to abortion rights, and much of the South, along with much of the Midwest, is extremely hostile to abortion rights,” the report’s authors write.
The share of women living in so-called hostile states grew from 31 percent in 2000, to 57 percent last year.
But while the long-term trend has been toward passing abortion restrictions, last year saw a shorter-term retreat in the culture wars. Fifteen states passed 26 new abortion restrictions in 2014, a huge drop from the 70 passed in 2013 and the well-over-80 passed in 2011. The decline was likely the result of shorter sessions, four legislatures being out of session, and competition from other policy issues.
Lawmakers introduced 95 measures to expand abortion rights last year — more than in any year since 1990 — yet only four were signed into law. Republicans enjoying power in statehouses unprecedented in modern times are expected to press for even more abortion regulations this year.