January 30, 1973 : The legislative attack on
“Roe” by anti-abortion forces formally began
when Rep. Lawrence Hogan (R-MD) introduced
the first “Human Life Amendment” in Congress
(H.J. Res. 261). It would have established
personhood at conception if approved by 2/3
of Congress and ¾ of the state legislatures.
Other “H.L.A.’s” would follow.
May 14, 1973 : As the anti-abortion backlash
continues, the “National Right to Life Committee”
June 16, 1975 : The Supreme Court rules in the
case of Bigelow v. Virginia (421 U.S. 809) that a
state does not have the right to ban advertise-
ments which relate to abortion services.
September 30, 1976 : The “Hyde Amendment”
is signed into law. It prohibited Medicaid funding
for abortions with no exceptions. Later versions
included exceptions for rape or incest (if reported
to the authorities) pregnancies that threatened the
life of the woman, or where two physicians deter-
mined that continuation of the pregnancy could
result in “severe and long-lasting physical health
July 2, 1979 : In the case of “Belliotti v. Baird”
(443 U.S. 622), the Supreme Court ruled 8-1
that states may not require consent of a parent
for a minor to have an abortion if she can get the
permission of a judge first.
September 15-16, 1979 : The National Right to
Life Political Action Committee is established.
June 30, 1980 : The Supreme Court rules in the
case of Harris v. McRae (448 U.S. 297) that the
Hyde Amendment, which banned funding of
abortions under most circumstances, was consti-
tutional, and states that participated in Medicaid programs were not required to fund such pro-
June 15, 1983 : In the case of City of Akron v.
Akron Center for Reproductive Health (462 U.S.
416), the Supreme Court ruled several of the
city’s abortion-related statutes unconstitutional :
(1) That all abortions performed after the first
trimester must be done in hospitals ; (2)
Requiring a physician to obtain the consent of
at least one parent of an unmarried minor under
age 15 (or that she get a judicial bypass) ; (3) A requirement that physicians read a state-mandated
script to discourage the woman from having an
abortion ; (4) A 24-hour waiting period after
signing the consent form, and (5) A vaguely-
worded statute dealing with the disposal of fetal
June 28, 1983 : The Eagleton-Hatch Amendment,
which would have declared that “A right to abor-
tion is not secured by the Constitution” gets only
49 votes in the Senate, with 50 opposed. Sixty-
six of the 99 Senators present and voting would
have been needed for passage.
November 10, 1983 : Congress approves the
Ashbrook Amendment. It excludes abortion -
except when necessary to save the life of the
woman - from the health benefits of public
June 24, 1984 : The “Ladies Center” in Pensa-
cola, Florida is bombed.
December 25, 1984 : The “Ladies Center” and
two other clinics where abortions are performed
in Pensacola, Florida, are bombed by Matt
Goldsby, Jimmy Simmons, Kathy Simmons and
March 9, 1986 : The “March for Women’s Lives,”
sponsored and coordinated by the National
Organization for Women, in support of abortion
rights and birth control, drew a crowd of
125,000 in Washington, D.C.
March 16, 1986 : Thirty thousand participated
in another “March for Women’s Lives” in Los
Angeles despite drenching rain and thunder-
storms. There were six more such marches
(Denver, CO ; Harrisburg, PA ; Trenton, NJ ;
Boston, MA ; Seattle, WA and Portland, OR)
June 11, 1986 : The U.S. Supreme Court rules in
the case of Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (476 U.S. 747)
that several laws passed by the Pennsylvania
Legislature were clearly designed to deter women
from having abortions, not protect their health,
and were therefore unconstitutional.
October 23, 1987 : The nomination of abortion
opponent Robert Bork to the Supreme Court
is defeated 58-42.
September 26, 1988 : The Food and Drug
Administration issues an “Import Bulletin”
banning the importation of RU-486 into
the U.S. for personal use.
April 9, 1989 : “March for Women’s Lives”
draws 600,000 supporters of abortion rights
to Washington, D.C.
July 3, 1989 : The U.S Supreme Court ruled in
the case of “Webster v. Reproductive Health
Services” (492 U.S. 490) that all of the laws
contested in the case, and passed by the State
of Missouri were constitutional. The laws pro-
hibited public employees from assisting in
abortions and public facilities from being used
to perform them. Missouri also required phy-
sicians to perform fetal viability tests on all
pregnancies of 20 weeks or more.
June 25, 1990 : The U.S. Supreme Court
ruled in the case of “Hodgson v. Minnesota”
(497 U.S. 417) that the state could not require
a woman under 18 to get the permission of
both her parents before undergoing an abortion,
but it could require her to get the permission of
one parent, and be required to wait 48 hours
after that permission was obtained before having
an abortion. But it also upheld a law allowing a
minor to bypass parental permission by getting
a judge’s permission.
May 23, 1991 : In the case of “Rust v. Sullivan”
(500 U.S. 173), the Supreme Court ruled 5-4
that the “Gag Rule,” which barred abortion
counseling and referrals by family planning
providers who took Title X funds was constitu-
October 15, 1991 : The nomination of abor-
tion opponent Clarence Thomas is confirmed
by the Senate, 52-48.
April 5, 1992 : “March for Women’s Lives” in
Washington, D.C. draws 750,000
June 29, 1992 : The Supreme Court ruled 5-4
in the case of “Planned Parenthood of South-
eastern Pennsylvania v. Casey” (505 U.S. 833)
that though its decision in “Roe” was still valid,
states could pass laws restricting abortion as long
as they do not impose an “undue burden,” which
the Court defined as a “substantial obstacle in the
path of a woman seeking an abortion before the
fetus attains viability.” So Pennsylvania could
require “informed consent” and a 24-hour waiting
period prior to the procedure, and consent of one
parent in the case of a minor. But a requirement
that a married woman had to notify her husband
before having the procedure was rejected by the
July 1, 1992 : Leona Benten openly challenged
the ban on importing RU-486 (often called the
“French abortion pill” at the time) by appearing
at a press conference at J.F.K. Airport with a
bottle of RU-486 that she had brought with her
from London. Customs officials seized her pills,
and she went to court in an unsuccessful
attempt to get them back.
January 22, 1993 : President Clinton rescinds the
“gag rule,” and other anti-abortion executive
orders by President Ronald Reagan.
March 10, 1993 : Dr. David Gunn is murdered
outside his clinic in Pensacola, Florida by Michael
April 21, 1993 : Roussel-Uclaf agreed to license
RU-486 in the U.S. to the Population Council,
which agreed to run a clinical trial involving at
least 2,000 women.
August 19, 1993 : Dr. George Tiller is wounded
as he drives out of the parking lot of his Wichita,
Kansas, clinic by Rachelle “Shelley” Shannon.
May 16, 1994 : Roussel Uclaf donates the patent
rights to RU-486 to the Population Council.
May 26, 1994 : President Clinton signed the
“Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act”
to combat increasingly aggressive and violent
tactics by militant antiabortion groups and
individuals against clinics that performed
abortions as part of their health services
July 29, 1994 : Dr. John Bayard Britton and
James H. Barrett were murdered outside a
Pensacola, Florida clinic by Paul J. Hill.
October 27, 1994 : The Population Council
announced that RU-486 is being tested in the
December 30, 1994 : John Salvi kills two
and wounds five others at two Boston-area
August 10, 1995 : Norma McCorvey, known
as “Jane Roe” in “Roe vs. Wade,” announces
on “Nightline” that she is now anti-abortion.
April 10, 1996 : President Clinton vetoes the
so-called “Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act.”
September 18, 1996 : The F.D.A. gives
conditional approval to RU-486.
February 19, 1997 : In the case of “Schenck v.
Pro-Choice Network of Western New York”
(519 U.S. 357) the Supreme Court upheld a
fixed 15-foot buffer zone between militant
anti-abortion protesters and clinic doorways,
driveways, and parking lot entrances. But it
rejected a “floating” buffer zone around
patients or their vehicles entering or exiting
April 8, 1997 : Hoechst AG says it will no longer
produce RU-486 and is turning all rights over to
the Population Council.
October 10, 1997 : President Clinton vetoes the
“Partial Birth” abortion bill a second time.
January 29, 1998 : A clinic in Birmingham,
Alabama in bombed by Eric Robert Rudolph,
killing Richard Sanderson and severely wound-
ing Emily Lyons.
April 30, 1998 : The New England Journal of
Medicine publishes an article declaring RU-486
October 23, 1998 : Dr. Barnett Slepian is murdered
in his home in a suburb of Buffalo, New York by
June 28, 2000 : The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in
the case of “Stenberg v. Carhart” (530 U.S. 914)
that the State of Nebraska’s law prohibiting so-
called “partial birth” abortions was unconstitu-
tional. The court majority found that it placed an
undue burden on the woman’s right to have an
abortion, and did not make exceptions if her
health was threatened.
September 28, 2000 : The F.D.A. approved
RU-486 as a safe and effective method for
terminating early pregnancies.
April 25, 2004 : N.O.W.’s “March for Women’s
Lives” in Washington, D.C. becomes the largest
women’s rights march in history with a million
November 6, 2006 : Abortion ban fails at the
polls in South Dakota, as do “parental
notification” referenda in Oregon and
November 13, 2007 : Massachusetts governor
signs a bill giving greater protection to abortion
January 23, 2009 : President Obama repeals
international “Gag Rule.”
May 31, 2009 : Dr. George Tiller is murdered
in a church in Wichita, Kansas, by Scott Roeder.
June 11, 2010 : Florida’s governor vetoes a
bill that required women to have ultrasounds
November 2, 2010 : Colorado voters reject
April 12, 2011 : Kansas governor signs
legislation restricting abortion.
April 13, 2011 : Idaho governor signs
legislation banning abortions after 20
April 19, 2011 : Oklahoma governor signs
legislation banning abortions after 20
weeks. On December 4, 2012 the State
Supreme Court struck down the ban.
April 27, 2011 : Indiana bans abortion
after 20 weeks.
June 30, 2011 : According to the Alan
Guttmacher Institute, “In the first six months
of 2011, states enacted 162 new provisions
related to reproductive health and rights.
Fully 49% of these new laws seek to restrict
access to abortion services, a sharp increase
from 2010, when 26% of new laws restricted
abortion. The 80 abortion restrictions enacted
this year are more than double the previous
record of 34 abortion restrictions enacted in
2005 – and more than triple the 23 enacted
in 2010. All of these new provisions were
enacted in just 19 states.”
July 20, 2011 : Ohio governor signs a bill
banning abortion after 20 weeks.
December 31, 2011 : Abortion opponents
passed a record high of 92 bills restricting
abortion in 24 states.
April 13, 2012 : Arizona governor signed a
bill banning abortions after 20 weeks.
December 27-30, 2012 : A Gallup Poll
showed that 53% of Americans support
“Roe” while only 29% wanted it overturned,
and 18% had no opinion.
December 31, 2012 : Abortion opponents
passed 43 bills restricting abortion rights in
19 states during the year. There were 122
laws passed relating to reproductive rights
in 42 stats and the District of Columbia.
January 9, 2013 : The First U.S. District Court
of Appeals upheld a Massachusetts law that
established a 35-foot “buffer zone” around
clinics that provide abortions.
February 5, 2013 : President Obama sent a
video expressing his strong support for abortion
rights to the “NARAL Pro-Choice America” annual
dinner. He said : “Tonight we celebrate the
historic “Roe vs. Wade” decision handed down
40 years ago, but we also gather to recommit
ourselves to the decisuion’s guiding principle :
that women should be able to make their own
choices about their bodies and their health care.
We reaffirm our steadfast commitment to pro-
tecting women’s access to safe, affordable
health care, and her right to reproductive
freedom because we know that we are better
off as a nation when women are treated fairly
and equally in every aspect of life, whether it’s
the salary you earn or the health decisions you
make. This is a country where the success of
all of us depends upon the empowerment of
each of us.”