The United States Gets a C Grade on Reproductive Rights

a protester holds a sign reading: Planned Parenthood was there for me

Planned Parenthood supporters at a reproductive rights rally in 2011. Photo by Sarah Mirk

Your rights shouldn’t depend on your zip code. But that’s exactly what’s happened in the United States, where states each treat abortion access, sex education, and birth control coverage differently. In the past decade, anti-reproductive rights groups have stepped up state-by-state campaigns to make it more difficult and expensive for women to get abortions, plus pressured states to roll back funding for birth control.

For the past three years, the Population Institute, an international nonprofit that promotes universal access to family planning education, has rated each state for its support of reproductive rights. The new report came out today and it’s not pretty. Only four states have “A” quality reproductive rights (hooray for New Mexico, California, Oregon, and Washington) while 15 states received a failing grade. Altogether, the Population Institute gave the United States a C for reproductive rights.

The report looked at nine factors to determine each state’s grade. The group points out that while reproductive health advocates have done a solid job recently of reducing the teen pregnancy rate and improving access to health care, numerous states have passed burdensome laws that have forced women’s health clinics to close.

Read the full state-by-state report here. 

Related Reading: The Bizarre Tradition of Anti-Choice Christmas Caroling.

Sarah Mirk is Bitch Media’s online editor and has lived in three of the four A-grade states. 

by Sarah Mirk
View profile »

Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

Get Bitch Media's top 9 reads of the week delivered to your inbox every Saturday morning! Sign up for the Weekly Reader:

2 Comments Have Been Posted

A long way to go.

Oregon has a long way to go to help ALL women access abortion. Even though there are not legal barriers, like those in the other states, many are blocked by access (physical location or transportation to clinic) and financial barriers. It is important for Oregon to work to make sure all women, just not wealthy ones, can get the care they need. If any one wants to support organizations in Oregon working to ensure access for ALL women. Check out and learn more about NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon.

it's kind of creepy how

the grades administered here basically reflect the state's overall grade.

Add new comment