Three progressive organizations held a press conference yesterday to announce the launch of a new website that tracks reproductive and sexual rights by state. Ipas, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), and SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective collaborated to create a database that evaluates states based on access to abortion and contraception; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues; and other concerns, such as abstinence-only education policies.
The website has a color-coded map and each state is given a profile that explains how it was ranked. Aside from providing statistics and links to relevant articles and studies, the website also links to the section of each state government’s website that addresses reproductive and sexual rights. The map reveals that Ohio and South Dakota place the most restrictions on reproductive and sexual rights, while New Mexico and New York receive the highest rankings for their state laws. The site also demonstrates a correlation between abstinence-only education and high teen fertility rates.
Speakers at the press conference, including Leila Hessini, senior policy advisor for Ipas; Jason Cianciotto, Research Director at NGLTF; and Loretta Ross, National Coordinator for SisterSong, hope it will serve as a one-stop source of information for activists, journalists, students, and anyone else interested in monitoring reproductive and sexual rights. The map is unique in that it addresses a breadth of issues, emphasizing the connectedness of many progressive concerns.