New report card on reproductive rights gives Vermont an 'A,' US a 'D-'

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New report card on reproductive rights gives Vermont an 'A,' US a 'D-'

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 6:33am -- tim

Vermont Business Magazine On the 46th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision the Population Institute is releasing its seventh annual 50 State Report Card on Reproductive Health and Rights. The most comprehensive assessment of its kind, it tracks multiple indicators of reproductive health and rights, including access to family planning and abortion services. While Vermont and a handful of states received an "A," the new report card gives the US a national grade of  "D-" for 2018. That's unchanged from the previous year, but with new threats emerging, and reproductive rights coming under intensified assault, the Institute warns that the grade for 2019 could be even lower.

Emerging threats include the so-called "domestic gag rule" that would cut off funding to family planning clinics that discuss availability of abortion, regulatory changes to the Affordable Care Act which could let employers strip contraception coverage from employee health plans, and adverse federal court rulings resulting from the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and the appointment of dozens of Trump-nominated judges to the lower federal courts.

The report card also assesses states individually.  26 states received a "D" or lower; 19 failed, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Ten states (California, Washington, D.C., Hawaii, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington) received an "A."

"On this year's anniversary of Roe, more than anytime in the last 46 years, supporters of reproductive rights need to be concerned," said Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute. "Roe is still the law of the land, but many states are restricting access to abortion services. A woman's ability to access affordable reproductive health care increasingly depends on where she lives, and if Roe is overturned, or its protections curbed, the divide will be even sharper. Many more women will be effectively denied access to abortion services, and maternity mortality rates will rise as a consequence."

The Guttmacher Institute reports that in 2018—for the first time in years—new policies protecting reproductive rights outnumbered new restrictions. Walker cautioned, however, that "No one should be complacent. This fight is far from over, and the worst may be yet to come."

The full report card is posted at www.populationinstitute.org/reportcard.

SOURCE WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Population Institute www.populationinstitute.org