DATE: June 21, 2023
CONTACT: [email protected]
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) released new findings highlighting unprecedented state and local actions that mitigate harm and expand abortion access
NIRH is also announcing a 17-state reproductive freedom initiative to continue pushing for meaningful abortion access at the state and local level across the country
New York, NY – The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) released new data detailing groundbreaking policy trends in the year since Roe v. Wade was overturned and announced a 17-state reproductive freedom initiative happening in year two of a post-Roe reality. Amidst the chaos and harm caused by abortion bans, advocates, elected allies, and activists responded with unprecedented investments and never-before-seen policies that aim to expand access to abortion and provide protections for patients, helpers, and providers.
From reproductive health friendly states like Colorado, to hostile states like Arizona, NIRH’s 17-state initiative will partner with advocates on the ground to advance bold policies that push the boundaries of all levels of government.
Statement from Andrea Miller, president, National Institute for Reproductive Health:
“The predictable and devastating harm playing out in nearly half the states where abortion is banned or severely restricted is a reminder of the critical role of state and local governments. They are where rights and freedoms start and stop, and why NIRH remains committed to pushing forth policies at these seats of power to expand just and equitable access to reproductive health care, including abortion.
“We applaud our partners, state advocates, and elected allies for thinking beyond the tattered Roe framework and innovating to create solutions that address the here and now. These types of policy solutions are what we mean when we say ‘Roe was the floor, we need more.’”
Statement from Katherine Riley, policy director, Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR):
“A year after the Dobbs decision our movement has faced challenges many of us in communities of color have lived in for decades – unable to access the reproductive healthcare of our choice and on our terms. This is why we brought the Safe Access to Protected Health Care package this year, alongside state partners like New Era and Cobalt, and with the support of national partners like NIRH. We have had enough of the onslaught of attacks on abortion care and bodily autonomy. The freedom to make our own decisions, define our own path in life, and safely care for our families and communities is vital to all of us – regardless of who you are, where you live, and where you come from. At COLOR, we won’t rest until that’s a reality. Reproductive Justice is when the community leads the way towards our collective liberation. This is why we work towards a world where everyone has access to all the resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies and lives with dignity and respect.”
Statement from Dr. DeShawn Taylor, President & CEO, Desert Star Family Planning:
“Access to abortion in Arizona was already a challenge before Dobbs due to more than 40 restrictions on the books. With dwindling access to abortion services across the state, people were already increasingly self-managing abortions. People who could leave the state because they were close enough to a border state did so. The 15 week ban we are now operating under was signed into law before the overturn of Roe v Wade and all of the restrictions before it occurred under the Roe framework. No abortion ban is reasonable. Pregnant people deserve the autonomy to make their own reproductive health decisions free from ideologically driven, arbitrary bans.”
NIRH’s 17-state (AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, PA, TX, VA) initiative works across all types of political environments where NIRH and its partners see unique opportunities to address the maternal mortality crisis, forge meaningful abortion access, and mitigate the harm people continue to experience when abortion is banned. These initiatives are meant to challenge long-held and historical policy status-quos. NIRH’s models helped many cities trailblaze abortion funding initiatives that resulted in groundbreaking policies starting in 2019. Over the next year, NIRH and its partners will continue leveraging this momentum by advancing birth justice, expanding coverage and funding for abortion care, and advocating for other innovative policies that expand equitable access at the state and local level.
A recording of NIRH’s press briefing on this new data and 17-state initiative can be found HERE
Data on Unprecedented Action Since the Fall of Roe
In the one year since Dobbs, we’ve seen state and local governments more than triple their investments in reproductive health care, including abortion. This is the most funding we’ve ever seen dedicated to new reproductive health care-related programs that expand abortion access directly. Post-Dobbs, at least 15 localities and six new states dedicated nearly $208 million to funding abortion care, clinical reproductive health services and infrastructure, and practical support like patient navigation for those seeking abortions.
- Localities: $9.4 million (Fresno, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Baltimore, MD; Hennepin County, MN; Minneapolis, MN; St. Louis, MO; New York, NY; Columbus, OH; Cuyahoga County, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Nashville, TN; King County, WA; Seattle, WA)
- States: $198.5 million (CA, IL, MA, NM, NJ, and WA)
- Post-Dobbs TOTAL: $207.9 million
These gains are unrivaled, especially when compared against the four cities and three states that invested a total of $55.8 million in total across the three years before Dobbs. In 2019, when we started to see explicit bans ramp up in a handful of state legislatures, a couple of cities countered by starting to utilize NIRH’s models to trailblaze funding policies. And once 2022 rolled around, a few states also got in on the act. From 2019-June 23, 2022:
- Localities: $2.3 million (NYC, Austin, Portland, San Francisco)
- States: $53.5 million (Maryland, New York, Oregon). No significant dollars were invested in similarly directed new programs at the state level prior to January 2022.
- Three years Pre-Dobbs TOTAL: $55.8 million
Since the beginning of 2022, state advocates have been breaking new ground in abortion policy, introducing never-before-seen, so-called “shield laws”, which seek to protect providers and people seeking abortion care in critical access states.
- Since 2022, 14 states enacted these types of laws that protect people from out-of-state legal actions. (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, and Washington State)
- Eleven of those states acted on shield laws in the wake of Dobbs. (Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New Jersey, Vermont, and Washington State)
- Three before Dobbs: (California, Connecticut, New York)
Earlier today, Andrea Miller penned an op-ed published by Elle Magazine: “I turned my back on Roe to fight for abortion equity” detailing how the Roe framework was insufficient, and even harmful, to abortion equity. Miller is available for interviews to discuss her op-ed and the importance of proactive policies that protect and expand abortion access.
The National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH) is an advocacy group that works directly with state and local reproductive health, rights, and justice organizations to protect and advance equitable access to reproductive health care. Our strategy is to go on the offensive to pass laws that safeguard reproductive freedom. NIRH partners with communities to build coalitions, launch campaigns, and successfully advocate for policy change, so the fabric of reproductive freedom is harder to tear apart.