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As Amnesty International Calls Out the Trump Administration’s “Virulent” Attacks on Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls, a New Population Institute Report Card Shows the Impact of Such Attacks on Americans’ Health and Rights

February 23, 2018

The new Amnesty International report on “The State of The World’s Human Rights” calls out the United States for abridging reproductive rights and harming reproductive health in 2017. The report sharply criticizes the Trump-Pence administration’s “broad and multifaceted” attacks on women and girls, and what it calls “particularly virulent” attacks and “extreme restrictions” on sexual and reproductive health care.  At the same time, Politico reported that State Department officials working on their annual global human rights report were ordered to strike many of its references to reproductive rights, including discussion of abortion rights or access to contraception.

A new study released by the Population Institute, its annual “50-State Report Card on Reproductive Health and Rights” covering 2017, shows that such attacks amount to more than mere words. After the Administration’s first year, the report card finds they have already had a deleterious effect on Americans’ reproductive rights and health. 

The report card gave the U.S. as a whole a grade of “D-” for 2017. 18 states failed it. It presents evidence that reproductive health and rights are declining nationally, while disparities between states are growing.  The report card findings overall and for each of the 50 states are posted here.

“The Amnesty International report criticizes the Administration for seeking to defund Planned Parenthood, enabling employers to refuse to provide health insurance coverage for contraception, and other attacks on reproductive health and rights,” said Robert Walker, president of the Population Institute.  “The 2017 report card shows that these policies are contributing to an alarming, nationwide decline in reproductive health and rights.”

“Political assaults on reproductive health and rights are demonstrably threatening access to family planning services women want and need,” Walker said.  “In recent years, dozens of family planning clinics have been forced to shut down. There is every reason to believe these attacks on reproductive services will persist in 2018 and beyond. We have a lot of work to do if access to those services is to be preserved.”

Over the past 13 months, the Trump-Pence Administration tried by every means possible to restrict access to family planning and reproductive health services. 

In addition to its campaign to defund Planned Parenthood, the Administration last year proposed to eliminate all funding for international family planning assistance, which was the largest cut to international family planning ever proposed. This year, it proposed cutting it in half, the second largest cut ever proposed.

The Administration is also working to derail the application process for Title X grants, which support family planning clinics serving low-income families. By executive action, the Administration last year cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund, while also renewing and expanding the “global gag rule,” which seeks to cut off all global health funding for overseas organizations that refuse to sign a pledge indicating that they will not refer patients for abortion services or advocate for abortion rights.

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