Who Legalized Abortions

The current legal interpretation of the U.S. Constitution regarding abortion following the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions that accompany it is that abortion is legal, but can be restricted by states to varying degrees. States have passed laws to restrict late-term abortions, require parental notification for minors, and require disclosure of information about abortion risk for patients before the procedure. [66] The issue of abortion has become deeply politicized: in 2002, 84 percent of state Democratic platforms supported abortion rights, while 88 percent of state Republican platforms opposed it. This divergence has also led right-wing Christian organizations such as Christian Voice, Christian Coalition and Moral Majority to play an increasingly prominent role in the Republican Party. This opposition was broadened by the Foreign Aid Act: in 1973, Jesse Helms introduced an amendment prohibiting the use of aid funds to promote abortion abroad, and in 1984, Mexico City policy prohibited financial support for foreign organizations that performed or promoted abortions. The «Mexico City Policy» was revoked by President Bill Clinton and subsequently reinstated by President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama rescinded this policy by executive order on January 23, 2009, and it was reinstated by President Donald Trump on January 23, 2017. The majority of abortions are performed by religiously identified women. According to the Guttmacher Institute, «More than 7 in 10 American women who have an abortion report a religious affiliation (37% Protestant, 28% Catholic and 7% other), and 25% attend services at least once a month. The abortion rate for Protestant women is 15 per 1,000 women, while Catholic women have a slightly higher rate, 20 per 1,000. [114] The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to cover abortion care services, meaning that people covered by Medicaid or Medicare cannot use their health insurance to pay for services. It also prohibits abortions for military and peace corps members, as well as those employed by the federal government, with a few exceptions if the pregnancy is due to rape, incest, or endangering the life of the pregnant person. Over the years, research has shown that the Hyde Amendment discriminates against low-income people and people of color, but this research has not led to policy changes. Notably, Supreme Court justices filed dissenting opinions asserting that the Hyde Amendment is a violation of constitutional rights and discriminates against marginalized groups. For example, in his dissent in Harris v. McRae, Judge Thurgood Marshall said Hyde was «intended to deprive poor and minority women of the constitutional right to abortion.» Despite campaigns to end the practice of abortion, advertising about abortion has been very effective.

Contemporary estimates of abortion rates in the mid-19th century suggest that between 20% and 25% of all pregnancies in the United States at that time ended in abortion. [17] This era saw a marked change in people who had abortions. Before the early 19th century, most abortions were desired by single women who became pregnant out of wedlock. Of the 54 abortion cases published in American medical journals between 1839 and 1880, more than half were requested by married women, and more than 60 percent of married women already had at least one child. [18] The perception that married women now frequently abort worries many conservative doctors, who are almost exclusively men. In the aftermath of the civil war, much of the blame fell on the nascent women`s rights movement. They estimate that 25 million unsafe abortions take place each year, the vast majority of them in developing countries. «Do you think abortions should never be legal, legal only in certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?» Since reporting of abortions is not mandatory, the reliability of the statistics varies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC)[101] and the Guttmacher Institute[102][103] regularly compile these statistics. In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in Whole Woman`s Health v. Hellerstedt struck down a restrictive Texas law requiring all doctors who perform abortions to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic.

The law would also have required clinics to meet the surgical centre`s operating standards. Most states are no longer trying to ban abortion. Instead, lawmakers tend to limit the period during which a woman can have an abortion, as well as the procedures used to perform abortions. A common limitation is the restriction of a procedure known as «partial birth» or late-term abortion. In countries where such restrictions are imposed, the law usually provides for so-called narrow exceptions to legislation that criminalizes abortion. These exceptions may be if the pregnancy is due to rape or incest, in the case of a serious and fatal foetal malformation, or if there is a danger to the life or health of the pregnant person. Only a small percentage of abortions are due to these reasons, meaning that the majority of women and girls living under these laws could be forced to perform unsafe abortions and put their health and lives at risk. Before Roe v. Wade, 30 states prohibited abortion without exception, 16 states prohibited abortion except in certain special circumstances (e.g., rape, incest, endangering the mother`s health), 3 states allowed residents to have abortions, and New York allowed abortions in general. [48] Earlier that year, on January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court in Roe v.

Wade ruled that all of these laws were invalid and established guidelines for the availability of abortion.