Published On: Mar 27 2013 11:13:21 AM CDTUpdated On: Apr 28 2014 09:01:47 PM CDT
Take a look back at the long, complicated history of abortion in America.
1821: Connecticut becomes the first state to pass a law banning abortions after "quickening," or when a woman starts to feel or perceive fetal movements in the womb.
1856: Leading pro-life advocateDr. Horatio Storerbegins a national drive by the American Medical Association (AMA) to end legal abortion, which at this time in legal through the first trimester in most states.
1873: The Comstock Act bans access to information about abortion and birth control. The law was named after its biggest proponent, Anthony Comstock, a United States Postal Inspector and politician dedicated to ideas of Victorian morality.
1961: President John F. Kennedycreates the Presidential Advisory Council on the Status of Women and calls for the repeal of abortion laws.
1967: Abortion is classified a felony in 49 states and Washington D.C.
1967: Colorado becomes the first state to relax its abortion laws, allowing termination of a pregnancy in cases of rape, incest or threat to the mother's life.
1970: Abortion activistDr. Jane Hodgsonis convicted in Minnesota for performing an abortion on a 23-year-old woman.
1970: Hawaii becomes the first state to allow abortions performed before 20 weeks of pregnancy, thereby repealing its criminal abortion law. Soon after, New York State repeals its criminal abortion law.
1971: The Comstock Act prohibiting information on abortion is repealed. Abortion under "certain" conditions is allowed in 14 states, while four states guarantee a woman the choice of pregnancy termination.
1973: The Roe v. Wade decision by the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down all state abortion laws, with justices declaring on a 7-2 vote that abortion is a fundamental right under the Constitution.
1976: Congress adopts the first Hyde Amendment, barring the use of federal Medicaid funds to provide abortions to low-income women. The amendment is later modified to except cases of rape, incest or "severe and long-lasting" damage to the woman's physical health.
1981: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that pregnant minors can petition a court for permission to have an abortion without parental notification.
1993: President Bill Clinton signs five executive orders into effect, allowing research using fetal tissue, abortion counseling in federally-funded family planning clinics and abortion services in U.S. military hospitals.
1993: Abortion protesterMichael GriffinshootsDr. David Gunnoutside a clinic in Pensacola, Fla., during a March demonstration. He is later sentenced to life in prison.
1994: Congress passes the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act in response to Gunn's murder. It forbids the use of "force, threat of force or physical obstruction" to prevent someone from providing or receiving reproductive health services.
July 1994: Dr. John Bayard Brittonand a bodyguard are slain outside an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Fla., by former ministerPaul J. Hill. Hill is convicted of murder and sentenced to death.
December 1994: Pro-life advocate John Salviwalks into two Boston-area abortion clinics with a rifle and opens fire, killing two receptionists and wounding five others. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole, but he kills himself in prison in 1996.
1995: Norma McCorvey, "Jane Roe" in the Roe vs. Wade court case, is befriended by the national director of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue. The group baptizes her upon her conversion to Christianity, and McCorvey declares that she is pro-life and regrets her role in the landmark case.
1996: The abortion debate shifts to state bans on "partial-birth abortions," which generally include late-term abortions performed with the "dilation and evacuation" method. Congress passes a bill to outlaw such procedures, although it is vetoed by President Bill Clinton.
1997: Two bombs explode outside an Atlanta building containing an abortion clinic. Six people are injured, the clinic is left in ruins and the blast blows out windows across the street.
2003: A federal ban on abortion procedures is passed by Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush. The National Abortion Federation immediately challenges the law in court and is successful in blocking enforcement of the law for its members.
2005: Serial bomber Eric Rudolph is sentenced in Birmingham, Ala., to two consecutive life terms without parole for a local abortion clinic bombing that killed an off-duty police officer and critically injured a nurse. He also confesses to the Atlanta abortion clinc bombing in 1997 and the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
2009: Scott Roeder is arrested in the slaying of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller, who was shot in the eye and killing him during church services in Wichita, Kan. Roeder is convicted of murder in January 2010 and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
2012: Mississippi passes a law requiring that all doctors performing abortions at the state's last abortion clinic also have hospital admitting privileges. Reproductive health advocates call the law an arbitrary regulation intended to shutter clinics and effectively ban abortion. That abortion clinic, the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is now in danger of closing.
March 2013: North Dakota's governor signs the nation's most restrictive abortion law into effect. The legislation bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat is heard, which can be as early as six weeks, and prohibits abortions over gender or genetic defects. More than a year later, the law was overturned by a federal judge.
October 2013: A U.S. district judge issues a permanent injunction preventing two key parts of a controversial Texas abortion law from going into effect, specifically requirements that doctors obtain admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic at which they're providing abortion services and usage controls on RU486, a drug that induces abortions. The bill attracted headlines in July because it originally failed to gain approval because of a Democratic filibuster led by state Sen. Wendy Davis. Texas Gov. Rick Perry then called the legislature into a second special session to continue consideration of the bill, and it ultimately passed.
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