Limitations of Women’s Reproductive Rights in the Law: Are We Repeating The Past?



Throughout American history, laws on reproductive rights have changed. Starting in the 19th century, the laws completely banning abortion and other forms of contraception were demolished by Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton in the 1970s. However, in the past 20 years, new laws have arisen surrounding abortion. Like the original laws, they are made by state, so it is not consistent throughout the whole country. While they do not fully ban abortion, they do make it increasingly difficult to obtain one as well as making it hard for abortion clinics to provide them. This webpage will give you information on the past and current problem, as well as give suggestions for ways to help.


Why I Chose This Topic:

What You Need To Know

What happened in the past:

Read about the history of the problem from my Historical Problem Essay:

What’s happening now:

Although laws fully banning abortions and contraception are no longer constitutional in the United States, a new kind of reproductive medical care regulation has come into place: TRAP laws. TRAP stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers. 24 states have put these laws into place that detail restrictions on aspects of abortion facilities that are not medically related to the clinic (Guttmacher Institute). These laws, along with constant attempts to defund Planned Parenthood made by the Trump-Pence Administration, force many abortion clinics to close, making safe and legal abortions less available to women.  This is a visual provided by the Los Angeles Times showing how many abortion clinics are open per state, as of Spring 2017. 

Los Angeles Times

Furthermore, 11 states in the America have restrictions how many weeks a woman can be pregnant before an abortion is illegal. The time ranges from 6-20 weeks, although there is one state that has a law on 0 weeks (Gordon and Hurt). Exceptions can be made if the mother’s life is endangered by the pregnancy or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest, however the latter varies from state to state. Here is a graphic from National Public Radio showing what states have limitations on when one can receive an abortion. As you can see, the laws have changed in the past few years.

National Public Radio

Currently, a bill is in Congress that challenges the legitimization of TRAP laws called the Women’s Health Protection Act. As a law, it would make safe and legal abortions a requirement for women’s health, as well as prohibit unnecessary regulations on abortion providers (Hooton and Schvey).


In my Present Problem and Solutions essay, I also go into detail on Title X and health care surrounding reproductive care. Read the full essay here:

For Now – Action Steps


Disclaimer: If you do not agree with anything being stated, this is not forcing you to take action, it is merely a suggestion on what you can do to help, if you want to.


Macro Solutions:

This problem impacts our society a lot and takes a large part of political debates. Here are some things that will help us, as a larger community, advocate for reproductive rights and make this a safe environment for women

  1. Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act. This act will make all safe abortions legal and be a requirement for women’s health and stop the legalization of TRAP laws, to allow access to proper reproductive medical care. This will undoubtedly save lives of many women. Women deserve the right to decide if and when they have a baby and that should not be decided by anyone else except the mother. The Women’s Health Protection Act reserves that right for women and prevents the limitation of that right. For more information on the Women’s Health Protection Act go to: 
  2. Make sure public service worker health care and Medicaid covers abortions. 19 states in America have laws in which the health care provided to public service workers and government employees is unable to cover abortions (Hooton and Schvey). It is these people’s jobs to make sure we are safe and who are trying to make our country a better place and by denying them the right to an affordable abortion is not a way to thank them for all that they do for us in our communities and for our country as a whole. This situation is similar with Medicaid. Numerous states do not cover abortions with Medicaid (Hooton and Schvey). This makes abortion drastically more inaccessible for low income people. Your right to safe and legal reproductive care should not be determined by your economic class. As a country, we need to provide safe and affordable abortions to everyone. 


Micro Solutions:

Here is what we, as individuals, can do to confront this problem:

  1. Donate to your local Planned Parenthood and/or other abortion clinics. Due to TRAP laws and the defunding of Planned Parenthood, many abortion facilities are fighting to keep their doors open. According to The Guardian, from 2011-2016, a quarter of abortion clinics have closed in the past five years alone. If there are less providers, that means that less people have access to their health care and to an abortion. If you donate, you will help a lot of people get professional medical care that they need. For more information on Planned Parenthood go to: and use this link to donate to Planned Parenthood:
  2. Contact your local representative and/or state senator to help get the Women’s Health Protection Act passed. As the law is still in Congress, it needs as much support as it can get from congresspeople. This bill, if it becomes a law, will help millions of women gain access to the medical care that they need, make it easier to get an abortion, as well as prevent restrictions on that accessibility, like banning TRAP laws. Politicians are representing the people, so if they need to know that their citizens support what they are doing. For more information on this bill go to

  3. Raise awareness! This is a great way to evoke change in our society. Knowing hundreds of thousands of people are behind one cause means a lot for its impact on our nation. Participating in the nationwide protests like Women’s March is a good way to go about this. Another way to do this is use your social media platforms to give information. More and more the younger generations of our society are using social media apps and websites (such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat) as a way to raise awareness, spread knowledge to the public, and as a new form of activism. You can use both of these to gain more attention to our country’s status concerning reproductive rights and health care. For more information on the Women’s March, use this link:

This is from the 2020 Women’s March in San Francisco
Women’s March San Francisco

Here is my full bibliography:

Thank you for viewing my web page on Limitations on Women’s Reproductive Rights! If you have any comments on my solutions, ideas for your own solutions, or anything else feel free to use the comment section below!

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