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10 Worst States To Be a Woman

State Republicans have introduced nearly 1,000 laws restricting women's reproductive health access. Here are 10 of the worst states to be a woman between puberty and menopause.

In a time of war and record unemployment, the GOP is sending a message: fertile women are the country’s number one enemy, and their freedoms must be quashed at all costs. State Republican (and some Democratic) legislators have introduced nearly 1,000 laws restricting women’s reproductive health access on the state level, and this is on top of decades of reproductive health policies that have made women second-class citizens in many states.

Here are 10 of the worst states to be a woman between puberty and menopause:

1. Mississippi. Mississippi has been such a bad state for women for so long it rarely even gets noticed in the news anymore. Legal and cultural harassment has reduced the number of abortion providers in the state to two, making the abortion rate in the state four times lower than the rest of the country. This doesn’t mean that women in Mississippi don’t need abortions; just that they go out of the state to get the services, making the actual abortion rate much closer to the national average. The demand is surely higher and not being met, as Mississippi is far from the place to go for decent sex education and birth control. Mississippi has the third highest teen birth rate in the country, the fifth highest maternal mortality rate, and fifth highest rate in STD transmissions. Because women can’t say no to childbearing easily, one in three Mississippi children live in poverty.

2. Texas. Thirty-five percent of women in their childbearing years are uninsured in Texas, making the need for subsidized family planning services especially strong in the state. Republican lawmakers responded to this need by slashing family planning funding, while leaving untouched the money the state spends on crisis pregnancy centers, even though these centers offer no real services women need. But even this isn’t enough for the Texas GOP. Republicans are currently concocting a scheme that would dismantle the entire state program dedicated to reproductive health care for low-income women. Just in case there was any doubt left in women’s minds that Texas Republicans hate them, Rick Perry will be signing an ultrasound requirement to get an abortion.

3. South Dakota. Anti-choicers in South Dakota tried to ban abortion in 2006, but the non-misogynist population turned up at the polls and beat the ban back. But searing hatred for ovulating women will not be thwarted so easily! The state then passed a law requiring women to wait 72 hours and subject themselves to a hectoring lecture at a crisis pregnancy center before they can get an abortion. Surprise! It turns out that no crisis pregnancy centers have applied to be official counseling centers. It makes sense, since by agreeing to do so, they’re allowing women to fulfill their paperwork requirements to get an abortion. Letting crisis pregnancy centers become an impassable obstacle to abortion has given misogynist legislators a way to deprive women of any ability to get an abortion while leaving abortion technically legal.

4. Indiana. Not to be outdone by South Dakota, Indiana has gone a step further and moved toward attacking both contraception and abortion access. Gov. Mitch Daniels recently signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks, and cutting off all federal funding for family planning. Lawmakers claimed they only wanted to attack clinics that also provide abortions, but because of federal non-discrimination policy, the law basically means an end to all federal funding of contraception, as well as STD testing and treatment. Now women in Indiana who rely on Medicaid and Title X subsidies to afford contraception will have to come up with hundreds of dollars they don’t have for contraception, or go without and run the high risk of unwanted pregnancy. The Guttmacher Institute estimates that without these clinics, teen pregnancy would be 21 percent higher and there would be about 3,500 more abortions in the state a year.

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