5 Governors With the Absolute Worst Records on Abortion

1. Sam Brownback, Kansas


Under the guidance of Sam Brownback, the state of Kansas has passed a spate of some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States. 

In 2011 alone, Brownback signed into law three major anti-choice pieces of legislation.  His playbook (banning abortion after 21 weeks, preventing all insurance companies from covering elective abortions, both public and private, and defunding Planned Parenthood) has been mimicked across the country by other anti-abortion hardliners. But he wasn’t done; in 2012, Brownback signed a law that allows pharmacists to refuse to fill women’s contraception prescriptions if they object to her use of contraception. Brownback ran on a platform of limiting government, but in 2011 alone, Brownback’s attorney general’s office spent nearly half a million dollars defending their anti-choice legislation. So far, he has only expanded government’s intrusion into women’s rights to reproductive health care.

2. Rick Perry, Texas


Rick Perry recently begged his state legislature to send him more anti-choice laws to sign, even though Texas’ defunding of Planned Parenthood is tied up in what will be a lengthy litigation battle and its forced view and listen ultrasound law is literally torturing women. This guy just has it out for women.

Now, Perry is pushing for a “fetal pain” abortion ban after 20 weeks. He has said it is his “goal” to eliminate all women’s access to abortion (no exceptions ladies). Here’s the thing: Texas has a gigantic financial security problem. Though it has passed through the Great Recession better than most, it ranks 41st in the nation for financial security of its citizens. A full 50% of its citizens would have no financial assets they could use to survive on if they lost their income. The Texas legislature only meets for 140 days once every two years; by making restrictions on abortion his primary focus, Governor Perry and the Texas legislature will ignore all the financial reforms Texans need.

3. Jan Brewer, Arizona


While Kimberly Yee may be the legislative powerhouse behind the slew of anti-abortion laws that Arizona has spewed out in recent years, Jan Brewer’s inky pen has signed into law some of the nation’s most extreme laws that limit women’s right to abortion and contraceptive care. Due to bad writing by politicians who are not in fact doctors, Arizona’s “fetal pain” abortion ban marks a pregnancy as beginning two weeks before conception. But oh well, Brewer signed it anyway.

And not only has Arizona attempted to eliminate public funding for Planned Parenthood, they have also tried to eliminate the non-profit tax credit status for any organization that refers to abortion care, including domestic violence shelters. Then there’s a wacky sex- and race-based selection abortion ban, that even the Republican led House shied away from. Brewer also caved on a law that allows employers to interrogate women as to why they use contraception, and to deny them coverage of said contraception if the reason is reproductive. This lady is no friend to the ladies.

4. Mitch Daniels, Indiana


While rhetorically Mitch Daniels has been a notorious flip-flopper on abortion rights, his actions speak far louder than his words. In 2011, Indiana passed an unconstitutional ban on abortions after 20 weeks and became the first state in the nation to ban public funding of Planned Parenthood. Like so many other anti-choice laws, these unconstitutional provisions have wound up in lengthy litigation that costs Indiana’s taxpayers money, and they cost Indianans $4 million in federal funds.

5. Chris Christie, New Jersey


The only thing holding this guy back from passing a spate of anti-choice legislation is the fact that his House and Senate are majority pro-choice. But that hasn’t stopped him from doing enough damage to women’s health to earn a mention on this list. During his first year in office, he eliminated funding for reproductive health clinics that provided birth control and gynecological exams to low-income women. The New Jersey legislature tried to revive the funding, but he vetoed their bill.

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Alison Tanner

Alison is a recent graduate of the University of California - Davis, where she studied political science and women's studies and served the student body as an ASUCD Senator. She is currently a legal assistant for the ACLU's Reproductive Freedom Project. Views expressed here are her own.

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