To describe abortion restrictions and supportive policies in each state we: 1) selected a set of abortion restrictions and evidence-based policies supportive of women’s and children’s well-being; 2) created scores for each state by tallying the number of selected restrictions and supportive policies enacted; and 3) examined the association between abortion restrictions and supportive policies.
We selected abortion restrictions that have a direct impact on access to abortion care, such as measures that restrict the use of public and private insurance coverage of abortion, measures that restrict abortion procedures or providers, and measures that delay or make it more challenging for individuals seeking abortion care. In addition to restrictive policies, we selected an indicator regarding the number of abortion providers per 100,000 women of reproductive age to reflect the availability of abortion care in each state. States who performed below the national average on this indicator were considered restrictive. If an abortion restriction was present in fewer than five states, had no suitable data source, or was already captured by another restriction, it was excluded from the analysis.
Supportive policies were defined as policies supportive of women’s and children’s health, including their social and economic well-being. We consulted experts, public health literature, and prior policy analyses to develop an initial pool of potential policies. This pool was then narrowed down to a final set of policies based on the following criteria: reported at the state-level, publicly available, regularly updated, easy to understand, evidence-based, and balanced in its representation of women’s health and maternal and child health.
Indicators were updated with the most recent data sets available in 2019. In some cases, 2019 data was unavailable, and data was utilized from the most recent year available. The final analysis included 18 abortion restrictions and 25 policies supportive of women’s and children’s health and well-being. A detailed list of indicators and data sources is located on the indicators page.
For each state, we calculated two composite scores, one each for: abortion restrictions, and policies supportive of women’s and children’s well-being.
For abortion restrictions, each state was scored 0-18, with 18 being the highest possible number of abortion restrictions. Laws were included regardless of whether they were currently enforced or blocked due to court challenges and/or rulings.
For policies supportive of women’s and children’s well-being, each state was scored 0-25, with 25 being the highest possible number of supportive policies.
State scores for abortion restrictions and supportive policies were then graphed to identify trends in the data.