The Population Institute Releases its 2012 Report Card on Reproductive Health and Rights
U.S. overall receives a “C-.”
Only 12 states receive a “B-” or higher; 9 states receive a failing grade.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Population Institute today released its first ever report card on reproductive health and rights in the U.S., and the results were not encouraging. Nine states receive a failing grade, and the U.S. as a whole received a “C-.” In releasing the report card, Robert Walker, the organization’s President, said, “We’ve seen a lot of progress in the past four decades, but we can’t take anything for granted. The U.S. still has an unacceptably high rate of unintended pregnancies, including teenage pregnancies, and yet family planning clinics in many areas are being forced to close, and schools in many states are using unproven, abstinence-only sex education curricula.”
While Congress has rejected efforts by social conservatives to de-fund family planning clinics, several states are drastically reducing their funding. In Texas alone, more than 50 family planning clinics have been forced to close their doors. Walker warned that, “While opposition to abortion is driving these political assaults, putting family planning clinic out of business will only increase the number of unwanted pregnancies and, as a consequence, the number of abortions being performed.”
Using nine criteria, the Institute’s report card ranked each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia:
- Thirty percent of the grade is based on measures of effectiveness. This includes the latest available data on the teenage pregnancy rate (15%) and the rate of unintentional pregnancies (15%).
- Thirty percent of the grade is based upon affordability. This includes Medicaid eligibility rules for family planning (10%), insurance coverage of contraception (10%), and funding for family planning clinics serving low-income families (10%).
- Twenty percent of the grade is based upon prevention. This includes mandated comprehensive sex education in the schools (10%) and access to emergency contraception (10%).
- The final twenty percent of the grade is based upon clinic access. This includes state laws on abortion (10%) and clinic access protection legislation (10%).
Based upon their scores, each state received a “core” grade (A, B, C, D or F), but some states received an additional “plus” or a “minus” for factors not reflected in the core grade, such as pending changes or legislation.
Only twelve states received a B- or higher. Just three states (California and Oregon) received an “A”, and only one state, Washington, received an “A+” and the highest composite score. Nine states received a failing grade (“F”). States receiving a failing grade included Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Tennessee.
Walker said, “Voters who care about reproductive health and rights need to know how their state ranks vis-a-vis other states.”
For a copy of the report, including a state-by-state breakdown, visit the Population Institute’s website (www.populationinstitute.org/reportcard).
Contact: Jennie Wetter, Director of Public Policy, firstname.lastname@example.org (202) 544-3300, ext. 108
SOURCE Population Institute