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9 States Where Awful GOP Policies Will Actually Drive Up the Abortion Rate

Republicans, who claim to find fetal life precious and abortion horrendous, also favor the very policies that drive increasing numbers of women to seek abortions.

This week, eight Indiana Planned Parenthood clinics are  closing their doors, in response to Republican-led state legislation cutting off their Medicaid funding, which means the clients at these clinics and all Medicaid clients in the state who go to Planned Parenthood will now be cut off from their contraception provider. T here’s likely to be a rise in the abortion rate in the state as women lose access to the means to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Not only are anti-abortion state Republicans and Gov. Mitch Daniel  not upset about that, they’re the ones who are fighting for it to happen.

If Daniels and his Republican buddies are so anti-abortion, why did they go to great lengths to make sure their state would have more abortions?

Republicans generally claim to abhor abortion, but ever since the party swept the House and many state legislatures in the 2010 elections, they've really dedicated themselves to policies that couldn’t be better designed to raise the abortion rate. Obviously, the option of abortion should be available for women who need or want to have an abortion. But all Americans should be wary of policies that increase the abortion rate, because the abortion rate goes up when women’s life circumstances go sour; either because they’ve lost access to basic health care such as contraception or because their economic circumstances have worsened.

But beyond that, Republicans who claim to hate abortion for itself should be embracing policies that secure women’s access to health care, child care and financial stability--policies that actually reduce the abortion rate. Instead, they seem committed to policies that will do nothing but drive more women to seek abortion.

With that in mind, here are eight more states -- in addition to Indiana -- where Republicans seem to be working hard to make sure that more women find themselves in need of an abortion, by cutting access to contraception, pre-natal care, and aid for low-income women to help raise their families.

1) Florida. Even though the economy is tanking and more women than ever need services, Florida has made cuts to funding for  Healthy Start, a prenatal care program that allows women without health insurance to bring healthy babies to term. Local clinics that provide health care that women need for early infant care have seen their funding cut, as have  family planning services such as contraception subsidies for low-income women.

Now, Florida is a state where more women will be getting pregnant but fewer women will be able to afford the medical care needed to continue with their pregnancies, putting them in a situation where abortion seems like a much better option. Three quarters of women having abortions already  say they can't afford a child, and Florida has made having a baby even further out of a woman’s reach.  

2) Kansas. Despite his claims to be anti-abortion, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback made huge strides toward raising the abortion rate in his state by cutting funding to Planned Parenthood. The strategy differs from Indiana’s, in that Kansas is attacking mainly Title X funding, which covers reproductive health services for women who don’t qualify for Medicaid but still can’t afford these services on their own. This means many women will see the monthly cost of birth control pills double or even more.  

The state is trying to dodge the challenge from the federal government by focusing on birth control subsidies instead of Medicaid reimbursements, but even with these limits, the abortion rate in the state is probably going to go up.  The Guttmacher Institute already found that women are struggling to pay for contraception in this economy, since birth control pills often cost upward of $50 a month for women paying out of pocket. If  diminished, subsidies causes a spike in price for women in Kansas, many will simply skip or stop using contraception altogether. The result will be more pregnancies and therefore more abortions.  

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