A model penal code for state abortion laws proposed by the American Law Institute (ALI) promotes legal abortions in instances involving the motherís mental or physical health, pregnancy due to rape and incest, and fetal deformity.
The first ALI-model abortion law is signed in April allowing abortion in cases of permanent mental or physical disability of either the child or mother or in cases of rape or incest. California, Oregon, and North Carolina pass similar laws.
Abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy is allowed in New York after Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller signs a bill repealing the state's 1830 law banning abortion except to save a woman's life. Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington State pass similar laws.
Abortion is effectively allowed for any reason following the Supreme Courtís ruling on its first abortion case, United States v. Vuitch. In upholding a District of Columbia law permitting abortion only to preserve a woman's life or health, the Court makes it clear that the term "health" involves a womanís mental and physical condition.
By the end of this year, 13 states have an ALI-type law. Four states allow abortion on demand. Mississippi allows abortion for rape and incest while Alabama allows abortion for the mother's physical health. Thirty-one states allow abortion only to save the mother's life.
Roe v. Wade: On January 22 of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in this landmark case giving women the right to abortion and setting up parameters of regulation according to the trimester of pregnancy. Later this year, the National Right to Life Committeeónow the nationís largest pro-life organization--is formed.
In the first statewide political battle after the Roe v. Wade decision, pro-life Sen. Bob Dole defeats a congressman physician who performs abortions.
Boston abortionist Kenneth C. Edelin is found guilty of manslaughter for the death of an unborn child and, later this year, the first Human Life Amendment is introduced in the U.S. Senate.
The U.S. Senate conducts a test vote on the Human Life Amendment in April, drawing 40 votes of the 67 needed for approval. In June of this year, the first Hyde Amendment is approved, prohibiting Medicaid funding of abortions with limited exceptions. In December, Edelinís manslaughter conviction is overturned by the Massachusetts Superior Judicial Court, which rules that legal abortions are manslaughter only if the baby is definitely alive outside the mother's body.
In three cases (Maher v. Roe, Beal v. Doe, and Poelker v. Doe), the U.S. Supreme Court rules that federal and state governments are not obligated to pay for abortion in public assistance programs.
In Harris v. McRae, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Hyde Amendment, ruling that there is no constitutional right for women to receive abortions at public expense. Later this year, Republican pro-life candidates Ronald Reagan and George Bush defeat pro-abortion President Jimmy Carter and Vice President Walter Mondale. Eleven U.S. Senators switch positions from pro-abortion to pro-life.
In July of this year, a bill to challenge Roe v. Wade is approved. In December, a Senate subcommittee approves a constitutional amendment declaring that the Constitution secures no right to abortion.
In March of this year, the Hatch Amendment is approved, which would place abortion regulation in the joint authority of the states and Congress. In September, the bill challenging Roe v. Wade is blocked by a pro-abortion filibuster in the U.S. Senate.
In June of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down certain requirements regarding abortions but it does rule that states may require that abortions only be performed by licensed physicians. Also this month, the Senate rejects the Eagleton-Hatch Amendment, which states that the Constitution doesnít secure the right to an abortion, by a vote of 49-50. (A two-thirds vote is required to pass a constitutional amendment.) And in November, Congress approves an amendment prohibiting the use of federal employees health benefits programs to pay for abortions, except in circumstances threatening the life of the mother.
In June, the Reagan Administration announces the "Mexico City Policy," denying funds to foreign organizations that perform or promote abortion as a family-planning tool in other nations. Later this year, pro-life President Reagan is reelected, defeating the pro-abortion Democrats Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.
In July, the House reaffirms the Mexico City Policy by a 45-vote margin. The Kemp/Kasten Amendment is also enacted, denying U.S. population-assistance funds to any group that supports or participates in programs of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization. Later this month, the U.S. Justice Department files a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade.
In June, in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state laws requiring an abortionist to use the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive. It also strikes down women's right-to-know laws and the waiting period requirement. In September, leading pro-abortion senators fail to block the promotion of Associate Justice William Rehnquist to chief justice.
In July, President Reagan announces that Title 10 funds wonít be offered to programs giving counseling and referral for abortion services as a family planning method. The next month, Reagan appoints a federal task force to encourage adoption as an alternative to abortion. In October of this year, the Senate rejects the nomination of pro-life Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court. The seat ultimately goes to Anthony Kennedy, who votes to reaffirm the core holdings of Roe in 1992.
In September, licensing is approved by the French government for the use of RU 486. Later this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans the importation of the drug for personal use.Also in September, the U.S. Senate passes an amendment barring Washington D.C. from paying for abortions or performing abortions in its city-operated hospital. In October, the French government reverses its decision to halt distribution of RU 486. And in November, pro-life Republican candidates Vice President George Bush and Dan Quayle defeat pro-abortion Democratic candidates Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen.
In July, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds parts of a Missouri law stating that governments do not constitutionally have to make public facilities available to those performing abortions. In November, the "Freedom of Choice Act" is introduced for the first time in the U.S. House and Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey signs the Abortion Control Act.
In March, a federal court in New York dismisses Planned Parenthood's lawsuit challenging the Mexico City Policy. In May, it is announced that RU 486 will be marketed outside France. In June, the U.S. House rejects a proposal to fund two organizations that promote abortion in less-developed nations. In August, the AFL-CIO Executive Council rejects a proposal to switch from a neutral stance abortion to take a pro-abortion position.
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the Bush Administration's regulations that prohibit routine counseling and referral for abortion in 4,000 clinics that receive Title 10 funds. President Bush vows to veto any legislation weakening current law or existing regulations pertaining to abortion. Later this year, President Bush nominates and the Senate confirms Judge Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. In October of this year, a child is born with one arm severed at the shoulder after surviving an abortion attempt in her motherís third trimester of pregnancy.
In February of this year, the Bush Administration threatens to veto legislation requiring federal funding of research that encourages or depends on abortion, including the use of tissue harvested from aborted babies. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms the basics of Roe with the only a few changes. For example, it tosses the trimester scheme and upholds certain restrictions on abortion. Later this year, the U.S. House sustains President Bush's veto of a bill requiring federal funding for transplanting tissue taken from aborted babies by a narrow margin. In September of this year, at a National Abortion Foundation seminar, abortionist Martin Haskell describes the gruesome partial-birth abortion technique, which involves delivering all but the head of a baby from the mother's womb, piercing the skull, suctioning out the brain, then completing the delivery. And in November, pro-abortion Democrats Bill Clinton and Al Gore defeat pro-life President George Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle.
In January of this year, President Clinton issues five executive orders regarding abortion issues. They include: 1) reversing Title 10 regulations banning abortion referral by federal employees; 2) repealing the Mexico City Policy; 3) lifting the ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants; 4) instructing military hospitals to perform abortions; and 5) asking the FDA to review the import ban on RU 486. The following month, abortionist Abu Hayat is convicted of assault and illegal abortion for his attempt to kill via abortion Ana Rosa Rodriguez, the baby born in 1991 with a severed arm. In June, the U.S. House renews the Hyde Amendment. An NRLC-led lobbying campaign defeats the so-called "Freedom of Choice Act," a proposed federal statute to invalidate even the narrow types of state abortion regulations permitted by the Supreme Court. In December, the Clinton Administration orders states to change their laws and provide payments for abortions in cases of rape or incest.
U.S. patent rights for RU 486 are donated to the Population Council. In September, it is announced that the Clinton Health Care Plan will not be introduced in the U.S. Senate in the current session. A massive public education and lobbying campaign led by NRLC contributes heavily to the ultimate defeat of Clintonís national health system that would ration lifesaving care and pay for abortion on demand. In October, the Population Council announces that testing of RU 486 is underway in the United States. In November, in nationwide congressional elections, no pro-life members of Congress are defeated by pro-abortion challengers. Republicans take over majority control of both houses of Congress. Pro-lifers pick up six votes in the Senate and about 40 in the House.
In June, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. In August, Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, tells a national television audience that she now supports the right to life of unborn children. She had already revealed that this pregnancy was not the product of a rape - - as she had previously contended - - showing that Roe had been built on a lie. Also in August, abortionist David Benjamin is convicted of second-degree murder in the botched-abortion death of Guadalupe Negron. He is the first New York abortionist to be convicted of murder. In November, U.S. House passes the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act and in December, the U.S. Senate passes the act.
In April, President Clinton vetoes the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In July, an FDA committee recommends that the FDA approve marketing RU 486 for women up to 49 days pregnant. In September, the FDA declares RU 486 approvable, but asks for more information before the drug can be marketed. In November, Bill Clinton and Al Gore defeat the pro-life Republican ticket of Bob Dole and Jack Kemp.
In March, the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act is passed in the House in March and in May, it is passed in the U.S. Senate with just three votes shy of the number required to override President Clinton's veto, issued, as expected, the following October.
In April, the New England Journal of Medicine publishes the results of a U.S. trial of RU 486 and the drug is declared safe by the Population Council.