2021 Is Already the Worst Year for Abortion Rights on Record

States enacted 90 abortion restrictions in the first six months of 2021, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Photo of cars driving along a road that leads to the Texas Capitol building
Texas is one of four states that enacted a six-week abortion ban this year. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

We’re only halfway through 2021, and it’s already the worst year for abortion rights since Roe v. Wade established the constitutional right to abortion in 1973. States have enacted 90 abortion restrictions so far, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

That’s already more anti-abortion laws than in all of 2011, which used to be the worst year on record. Congratulations, 2021. You did it!

These new laws include pre-viability abortion bans (which are, you may remember, unconstitutional), attempts to close down clinics, restrictions on medication abortion, and much more. Arkansas and Oklahoma tried to ban abortion entirely, and four other states enacted new six-week abortion bans; one of those states, Texas, went even further—by giving any regular person the power to sue an abortion provider to enforce the ban.

Eight states enacted new restrictions on medication abortion—a reaction to increased focus on the abortion pill and telemedicine access throughout the pandemic.

And almost all of these laws are in states already hostile to abortion rights.

“If you are not enraged, you are not paying attention,” Elizabeth Nash, Guttmacher’s principal policy associate for state issues, said in a statement. “We’re seeing right-wing ideologues engage in an all-out assault against abortion rights as part of a broad attack on basic human rights that also includes a wave of voter suppression laws and attacks on LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youth.”

According to Guttmacher’s midyear report, “Each additional restriction increases patients’ logistic, financial and legal barriers to care, especially in regions where entire clusters of states are hostile to abortion.”

Many of these laws will be challenged in court on the grounds of unconstitutionality—some will be blocked and never go into effect, just like other pre-viability abortion bans have been in the past. But this is all happening as the Supreme Court prepares to hear the biggest abortion case in decades, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. When the justices issue a ruling next June, the Court’s conservative majority will have the opportunity to overturn abortion rights precedent—and give federal judges a green light to uphold any of the abortion restrictions that anti-choice lawmakers pass.

This post was adapted from a Twitter thread.