CommunityPam's House Blend

Mapping Our Rights, state by state

You have to check out this newly released web site, Mapping Our Rights: Navigating Discrimination Against Women, Men and Families. It ranks states on their level of respect for reproductive and sexual rights.

Who comes out on top? New York and New Mexico tie at #1. At the bottom, no surprise: South Dakota.

The project is the work of Ipas, an international reproductive health organization based in Chapel Hill; the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; and the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective. From the NGLTF release:

Leila Hessini, Ipas senior policy advisor, said: “Historically, the United States has represented ideals of liberty and equality for much of the world. But, as this project demonstrates, that freedom often depends on the state you call home.”

The clickable, online map uses more than 20 indicators to rank the 50 states and the District of Columbia, including:

* Public funding for family planning and abortion
* Whether health-care providers can deny medical services because of their beliefs
* Whether same-sex couples can adopt
* The use of abstinence-only curricula in schools
* Whether states have anti-discrimination clauses that explicitly protect gays

…Jason Cianciotto, research director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, said: “With the launching of Mapping Our Rights, the relationship between reproductive rights and the concerns of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is clear. From the right to control our own bodies, to access to fertility technology, to the application of scientifically based approaches to HIV/AIDS, people of every sexual orientation and gender identity share the most basic human concerns and goals.”

The scoring system, according to the site, uses a penalty-point system to determine whether a state’s laws and policies protect sexual and reproductive freedom.

State legislation or policies that are unfavorable or that do not protect sexual and reproductive rights receive 100 penalty points, while states with policies that uphold these rights receive no penalty points. States could also receive 50 points for legislation that does not apply to the state as a whole, or is enjoined by the courts.

I decided to see where my state, NC, came out. It’s dead in the middle at #25.

North Carolina received 100 penalty points on the following filters:
* Mandatory parental involvement in minors’ abortions
* TRAP (targeted regulation of abortion providers) laws
* Abortion coverage under the Medicaid program
* Emergency contraception (EC) in the emergency room
* Emergency contraception (EC) pharmacy access
* Anti-discrimination laws for LGBT Community
* Hate crimes legislation for LGBT Community
* DOMA (Defense of Marriage Acts) and similar constitutional amendments
* Same-sex marriage laws
* Abstinence-only education
* Legal status of midwifery
* State constitutional guarantee of equal rights for men and women (ERA)
* “Conscience” or refusal clauses
* Fetal homicide laws

North Carolina received 50 penalty points on the following filters:
Lack of protection or restriction: Second-parent/Step-parent adoption by same-sex partners

Go to the site and check out your state’s ranking. Kate’s birth state, Alabama, actually comes in at 29. Mississippi, right next door, is 45.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding