What's at Stake

A decision about having a baby or having an abortion is a deeply personal, private decision best left to a woman, her family, and her doctor. Yet some politicians remain obsessed with interfering.

Abortion is one of the most common medical procedures performed today, and it’s incredibly safe. But laws that make it difficult if not impossible for a woman to get an abortion if she needs one, particularly if she is poor, are increasing at an alarming pace. Since 2011, states have enacted more restrictions to abortion than they did in the previous 10 years combined. Extremist politicians continue to work to shut down women’s health centers, cut off access to affordable birth control, and shame women who have abortions.

Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, we strive to ensure that every woman has the opportunity to make a real decision and the ability to get the care she needs. With your help, the ACLU stands ready to block efforts to take this decision away from women and their families. 

Our work focuses on a range of issues, including protecting access to affordable contraception, protecting a woman’s ability to make personal, private decisions about pregnancy and abortion, and fighting pregnancy discrimination.

Legislation

Federal Legislation

Shifts in the power structure of Congress have led to promises to strip away access to reproductive health care, especially abortion. Here’s important information on the federal legislation we’re watching.

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In the States: Legislative Attacks on Abortion

Read the most recent updates on extreme bills that would rob women of the ability to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference.

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Cases

In the Courts: ACLU Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice Cases

Read more about efforts to use the courts to protect women’s access to abortion and other reproductive health services here.

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Additional Resources

Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers: How Sneaky Laws Are Forcing Quality Health Care Providers to Close Down (Campaign)

Leading medical groups say TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) laws, which are cloaked in the deceptive language of women’s health, actually put women at risk by shutting down health centers where women can get safe and legal abortions. 

Here’s what you need to know about these dangerous abortion restrictions.

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Using Religion to Put Women’s Health at Risk (Campaign)

With increasing frequency, women are being denied reproductive health services, including birth control, abortions, and even basic information and refusals, based on a health care institution’s religious objections. In too many places, Catholic bishops, not doctors, are making medical decisions for women. The ACLU works hard to defend religious liberty, but religious liberty doesn’t include the right to deny someone else health care services they need. 

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Current Issues

Abortion

There are extremist politicians across the country who are proposing (and in some cases passing) dangerous measures designed to rob women of the services they need to make personal decisions about pregnancy free from political interference. The ACLU is on the front lines—at statehouses and in courtrooms across the country—to stop these extreme attacks on women’s health.

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Birth Control

Access to contraception is critical to an individual’s autonomy, equality, and ability to participate in the social, economic, and political life of the nation. The ACLU seeks government policies that ensure access to affordable contraception; respect voluntariness; protect confidentiality; and prohibit sex discrimination, be it in the form of sanctioning religious refusals or treating contraception differently from other care.

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Religion and Reproductive Rights

Across the country, we are seeing hospitals, insurance companies, pharmacies, and other health care entities discriminate against women by denying basic care—such as birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion—in the name of religion. Many of these institutions receive taxpayer funding.

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Abstinence-Only Curricula

The research shows that abstinence-only sex education does not protect teenagers’ health. Despite this, since 1996 the federal government has funneled more than a billion dollars into abstinence-only-until-marriage programming, even in the face of clear evidence that these types of programs do not work.

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