How does an increase in political repression of civil society affect the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to form, function, and survive? CSOs are important actors in society: they advocate for respecting human rights, provide services to citizens, and help hold governments accountable. Yet in recent years, dozens of countries have been closing civil society space, clamping down on the ability of CSOs to operate freely. Alarmingly, this trend is taking place not only in countries with autocratic governments, but also in democratic countries. We examine the effects of legal repression on CSOs in two democracies, Zambia and Bangladesh, and find that new legal restrictions on civil society have had a generally negative effect on CSOs in each country.