The History of Abortion in America

The United States Presidential
Record on Life

President Richard Nixon
(37th President, Republican, 1969-1974)

On Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court issued the Roe v Wade decision, Nixon made no public statement. However, tapes of a private conversation he had the day after reveal some of his thoughts. He worried out loud that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness” and that it could “break the family.”

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Telegraph to President from Metropolitan Ireney of the OCA:

The following is a excerpt from Metropolitan IRENEY of the Orthodox Church in America (OCA) to President Nixon in 1973:
“Together we, the Bishops of the Orthodox Church in America, wish to convey to you, Mr. President, our feelings of shock and indignation at the recent ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. We urge you to initiate all constitutional procedures necessary to reverse this tragic decision.”

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Quotes from Nixon Regarding Abortion:

"One measure of a truly free society is the vigor with which it protects the liberties of its individual citizens. As technology has advanced in America, it has increasingly encroached on one of those liberties--what I term the right of personal privacy. Modern information systems, data banks, credit records, mailing list abuses, electronic snooping, the collection of personal data for one purpose that may be used for another--all these have left millions of Americans deeply concerned by the privacy they cherish. [...] And the time has come, therefore, for a major initiative to define the nature and extent of the basic rights of privacy and to erect new safeguards to ensure that those rights are respected. [...] I look forward to establishing a new set of standards that respect the legitimate needs of society, but that also recognize personal privacy as a cardinal principle of American liberty. [editor's note: the "right of privacy" was the basis for the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling.]

President Nixon's 1974 State of the Union message to Congress, January 30, 1974

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"The most-talked-about proposed amendments to the Constitution--prohibiting abortion, establishing the line-item veto, setting one 6-year term for Presidents--all are non-starters." (i.e. ideas that have no chance of succeeding or being effective)

In the Arena, by Richard Nixon, page 232, April 1, 1991

President Gerald Ford
(38th President, Republican, 1974-1977)

"Each new life is a miracle of creation. To interfere with that creative process is a most serious act.
In my view, the Government has a very special role in this regard.
Specifically, the Government has a responsibility to protect life
and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected."
"I support the Republican platform which calls for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions."
-Gerald Ford

Quotes from Ford Regarding Abortion:

On September 10, 1976 President Ford wrote the following letter to the [Roman Catholic] Archbishop of Cincinnati (edited for brevity):

Your Excellency:

I want to thank you and other leaders of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops for visiting with me today to discuss issues of mutual concern and interest. Because many of these issues are highly sensitive, I thought it might be helpful to set forth my views on paper so that others who could not be with us might have a more precise understanding of my convictions on these issues.

One of the most controversial issues of our time and one in which we share a keen interest is the question of abortion. I have grave concern over the serious moral questions raised by this issue. Each new life is a miracle of creation. To interfere with that creative process is a most serious act.

In my view, the Government has a very special role in this regard. Specifically, the Government has a responsibility to protect life--and indeed to provide legal guarantees for the weak and unprotected.

It is within this context that I have consistently opposed the 1973 decision of the Supreme Court. As President, I am sworn to uphold the laws of the land and I intend to carry out this responsibility. In my personal view, however, this court decision was unwise. I said then and I repeat today--abortion on demand is wrong.

Since 1973 I have viewed as the most practical means of rectifying the situation created by the Court's action a Constitutional amendment that would restore to each State the authority to enact abortion statutes which fit the concerns and views of its own citizens. This approach is entirely in keeping with the system of Federalism devised by the founders of our Nation. As Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, I co-sponsored an amendment which would restore this authority to the States, and I have consistently supported that position since that time.

My position has been based on three fundamental convictions:
--I am against abortion on demand.
--The people of every State should have the Constitutional right to control abortion.
--There is a need to recognize and provide for exceptional cases.

I should also point out that the Republican Platform which I support is fully consistent with these views.

I recognize that this abortion question is a matter of deep personal and moral conviction. Honorable people may disagree, but all of us must be concerned about an increased irreverence for life within advanced societies.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you today. I look forward to future discussions with you and with others of every faith.


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On October 22, 1976 at the Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate :

Question: In the nearly 200-year history of the Constitution, there have been only 25 amendments, most of them on issues of broad principle. Now we have proposed amendments in highly specialized causes like abortion. Do you support a Constitutional amendment on abortion?

CARTER: I think abortion is wrong. I don't think the Government ought to do anything to encourage abortion, but I don't favor a constitutional amendment on the subject [of abortion]. 

FORD:  I support the Republican platform which calls for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions. I favor the particular constitutional amendment that would turn over to the States the individual right of the voters in those States the chance to make a decision by public referendum. I call that the peoples' amendment. I think if you really believe that the people of a State ought to make a decision on a matter of this kind, that we ought to have a Federal constitutional amendment that would permit each one of the 50 States to make the choice.

The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate, October 22, 1976

President James Carter
(39th President, Democratic, 1977-1981)

"I don't support a constitutional amendment on the subject of abortion."
-Jimmy Carter

Quotes from Carter on Abortion:

On October 22, 1976 at the Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate :

Question: "In the nearly 200-year history of the Constitution, there have been only 25 amendments, most of them on issues of broad principle. Now we have proposed amendments in highly specialized causes like abortion. Do you support a Constitutional amendment on abortion?"

CARTER:  "I think abortion is wrong. I don't think the Government ought to do anything to encourage abortion, but I don't favor a constitutional amendment on the subject [of abortion]. But short of a constitutional amendment, and within the confines of a Supreme Court ruling, I will do everything I can to minimize the need for abortions with better sex education, family planning, with better adoptive procedures. I personally don't believe that the Federal Government ought to finance abortions, but I draw the line and don't support a constitutional amendment. I honor the right of people to seek a constitutional amendment on abortion, but I won't actively work for its passage."

FORD:  "I support the Republican platform which calls for a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortions."

The Third Carter-Ford Presidential Debate, October 22, 1976

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"I am convinced that every abortion is an unplanned tragedy, brought about by a combination of human errors and this has been one of the most difficult moral and political issues I have had to face. As president, I accepted my obligation to enforce the "Roe v. Wade" Supreme Court ruling, and at the same time attempted in every way possible to minimize the number of abortions. [...] One of my best-remembered and most often quoted remarks came in July 1977, when I defended my lack of support for federal funds to be used for abortions among poor mothers, even though wealthier women could afford to have their pregnancies terminated. Without any careful forethought, I responded to a question on this issue by saying, 'Life is often unfair.' "

Our Endangered Values, by Jimmy Carter, page 72, September 26, 2006

President Ronald Reagan
(40th President, Republican, 1981-1989)

“My administration is dedicated to the preservation of America as a free land,
and there is no cause more important for preserving that freedom
than affirming the transcendent right to life of all human beings,
the right without which no other rights have meaning.” 
-Ronald Reagan

  • President Reagan supported legislation to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand.
  • President Reagan adopted the “Mexico City Policy,” which cut off U.S. foreign aid funds to private organizations that performed or promoted abortion overseas.
  • The Reagan Administration cut off funding to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) because that agency violated U.S. law by participating in China’s compulsory abortion program.
  • The Reagan Administration adopted regulations to prohibit federally funded “family planning” clinics from promoting abortion as a method of birth control.
  • The Reagan Administration blocked the use of federal funds for research using tissue from aborted babies.
  • The Reagan Administration helped win enactment of the Danforth Amendment which established that federally funded education institutions are not guilty of “sex discrimination” if they refuse to pay for abortions.
  • President Reagan introduced the topic of fetal pain into public debate.
  • The Reagan Administration played a key role in enactment of legislation to protect the right to life of handicapped newborns and signed the legislation into law.
  • President Reagan designated a National Sanctity of Human Life Day in recognition of the value of human life at all stages.
  • President Reagan wrote a book entitled Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, in which he made the case against legal abortion and in favor of overturning Roe v. Wade.

Quotes from Reagan Regarding Abortion:

"The tenth anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade" is a good time for us to pause and reflect. Our nationwide policy of abortion-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy was neither voted for by our people nor enacted by our legislators--not a single state had such unrestricted abortion before the Supreme Court decreed it to be national policy in 1973. But the consequences of this judicial decision are now obvious: since 1973, more than 15 million unborn children have had their lives snuffed out by legalized abortions. That is over ten times the number of Americans lost in all out nation's wars."

Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Ronald Reagan, p.15, Jan 1, 1984

"Despite the formidable obstacles before us, we must not lose heart. This is not the first time our country has been divided by a Supreme Court decision that denied the value of certain human lives. The "Dred Scott" decision of 1857 was not overturned in a day, or a year, or even a decade. At first, only a minority of Americans recognized and deplored the moral crisis brought about by denying the full humanity of our black brothers and sisters; but that minority persisted in their vision and finally prevailed. They did it by appealing to the hearts and minds of their countrymen, to the truth of human dignity under God. From their example, we know that respect for the sacred value of human life is too deeply ingrained in the hearts of our people to remain suppressed."

Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Ronald Reagan, p.15, Jan 1, 1984

"I have often said that when we talk about abortion, we are talking about two lives--the lives of the mother and the life of the unborn child. Why else do we call a pregnant woman a mother? [...] Medical practice confirms at every step the correctness of these moral sensibilities. Modern medicine treats the unborn child as a patient. Medical pioneers have made great breakthroughs in treating the unborn--for genetic problems, vitamin deficiencies irregular heart rhythms, and other medical conditions. [...] The real question today is not when human life begins, but What is the value of human life? The abortionists who reassembles the arms and legs of a tiny baby to make sure all its parts have been torn from its mother's body can hardly doubt whether it is a human being. The real question for him and for all of us is whether than tiny human life has a God-given right to be protected by the law--the same right we have."

Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation, by Ronald Reagan, p.15, Jan 1, 1984

"Abortion on demand now takes the lives of up to one and a half million unborn children a year. Human life legislation ending this tragedy will someday pass the Congress, and you and I must never rest until it does."

Speech in Orlando Florida , Mar 8, 1983

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January 14, 1988
By the President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan

A Proclamation

America has given a great gift to the world, a gift that drew upon the accumulated wisdom derived from centuries of experiments in self-government, a gift that has irrevocably changed humanity’s future. Our gift is twofold: the declaration, as a cardinal principle of all just law, of the God-given, unalienable rights possessed by every human being; and the example of our determination to secure those rights and to defend them against every challenge through the generations. Our declaration and defense of our rights have made us and kept us free and have sent a tide of hope and inspiration around the globe.

One of those unalienable rights, as the Declaration of Independence affirms so eloquently, is the right to life. In the 15 years since the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, however, America’s unborn have been denied their right to life. Among the tragic and unspeakable results in the past decade and a half have been the loss of life of 22 million infants before birth; the pressure and anguish of countless women and girls who are driven to abortion; and a cheapening of our respect for the human person and the sanctity of human life.

We are told that we may not interfere with abortion. We are told that we may not “impose our morality” on those who wish to allow or participate in the taking of the life of infants before birth; yet no one calls it “imposing morality” to prohibit the taking of life after people are born. We are told as well that there exists a “right” to end the lives of unborn children; yet no one can explain how such a right can exist in stark contradiction of each person’s fundamental right to life.

That right to life belongs equally to babies in the womb, babies born handicapped, and the elderly or infirm. That we have killed the unborn for 15 years does not nullify this right, nor could any number of killings ever do so. The unalienable right to life is found not only in the Declaration of Independence but also in the Constitution that every President is sworn to preserve, protect, and defend. Both the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life without due process of law.

All medical and scientific evidence increasingly affirms that children before birth share all the basic attributes of human personality — that they in fact are persons. Modern medicine treats unborn children as patients. Yet, as the Supreme Court itself has noted, the decision in Roe v. Wade rested upon an earlier state of medical technology. The law of the land in 1988 should recognize all of the medical evidence.

Our nation cannot continue down the path of abortion, so radically at odds with our history, our heritage, and our concepts of justice. This sacred legacy, and the well-being and the future of our country, demand that protection of the innocents must be guaranteed and that the personhood of the unborn be declared and defended throughout our land. In legislation introduced at my request in the First Session of the 100th Congress, I have asked the Legislative branch to declare the “humanity of the unborn child and the compelling interest of the several states to protect the life of each person before birth.” This duty to declare on so fundamental a matter falls to the Executive as well. By this Proclamation I hereby do so.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim and declare the unalienable personhood of every American, from the moment of conception until natural death, and I do proclaim, ordain, and declare that I will take care that the Constitution and laws of the United States are faithfully executed for the protection of America’s unborn children. Upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God. I also proclaim Sunday, January 17, 1988, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in their homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life they enjoy and to reaffirm their commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of every human life.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fourteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twelfth.

-Ronald Reagan

President George H.W. Bush, Sr.
(41st President, Republican, 1989-1993)

“Since 1973, there have been about 20 million abortions. This a tragedy of shattering proportions.” 
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overturned.” 
-George H.W. Bush, Sr.

  • The Bush Administration urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and allow states to pass laws to protect unborn children, stating “protection of innocent human life -- in or out of the womb -- is certainly the most compelling interest that a State can advance.”
  • President Bush opposed the “Freedom of Choice Act,” a bill which, he said, “would impose on all 50 states an unprecedented regime of abortion on demand, going well beyond Roe v. Wade.” The President pledged, “It will not become law as long as I am President of the United States.”
  • President Bush vowed, “I will veto any legislation that weakens current law or existing regulations” pertaining to abortion. He vetoed 10 bills that contained pro-abortion provisions, including four appropriations bills which allowed for taxpayer funding of abortion.
  • President Bush vetoed U.S. funding of the UNFPA, citing the agency’s participation in the management of China’s forced abortion program.
  • President Bush strongly defended the “Mexico City Policy,” which cut off U.S. foreign aid funds to private organizations that performed or promoted abortion overseas. Three separate legal challenges to the policy by pro-abortion organizations were defeated by the Administration in federal courts.
  • President Bush prohibited 4,000 federally funded family planning clinics from counseling and referring for abortions.
  • President Bush steadfastly refused to fund research that encouraged or depended on abortion, including transplantation of tissues harvested from aborted babies.
  • The Bush Administration prohibited personal importation of the French abortion pill, RU-486.
  • The Bush Administration prohibited the performance of abortion on U.S. military bases, except to save the mother’s life and fought Congressional attempts to reverse this policy

Quotes from Bush (Sr.) Regarding Abortion:

If there was an issue in the campaign that was clear, it was the abortion question. My opponent strongly supported the “choice” position, and I strongly supported the “life” position. I am not “imposing” my views, because I clearly stated them in running for office, and I am not about to change. [...]  I strongly support family planning and have always favored disseminating information on birth control. I do not favor advocating abortion in any way, shape, or form.

Letter from George Bush in All The Best, p.420 , Mar 29, 1989

President William J. Clinton
(42nd President, Democratic, 1993-2001)

"Everyone knows life begins biologically at conception, but no one knows when biology turns into humanity."
"I have believed in the rule of Roe v. Wade for 20 years since I used to teach it in law school.”
-William J. Clinton

  • President Clinton urged the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade.
  • The Clinton Administration endorsed the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act,” (a bill to prohibit states from limiting abortion even if Roe v. Wade is overturned). FOCA was defeated in Congress.
  • The Clinton Administration urged Congress to make abortion a part of a mandatory national health insurance “benefits package,” forcing all taxpayers to pay for virtually all abortions. The Clinton Health Care legislation died in Congress.
  • President Clinton unsuccessfully attempted to repeal the Hyde Amendment, the law that prohibits federal funding of abortion except in rare cases.
  • President Clinton twice used his veto to kill legislation that would have placed a national ban on partial-birth abortions.
  • President Clinton ordered federally funded family planning clinics to counsel and refer for abortion.
  • The Clinton Administration ordered federal funding of experiments using tissue from aborted babies. President Clinton’s appointees proposed using federal funds for research in which human embryos would be killed.
  • President Clinton ordered U.S. military facilities to provide abortions.
  • President Clinton ordered his appointees to facilitate the introduction of RU-486 in the U.S.
  • The Clinton Administration resumed funding to the pro-abortion UNFPA, which participates in management of China’s forced abortion program.
  • President Clinton restored U.S. funding to pro-abortion organizations in foreign nations. His administration declared abortion to be a “fundamental right of all women,” and ordered U.S. ambassadors to lobby foreign governments for abortion.
  • The Clinton Administration’s representatives to the United Nations and to U.N. meetings worked to establish an international “right” to abortion.

Quotes from Clinton Regarding Abortion:

"Everyone knows life begins biologically at conception. No one knows when biology turns into humanity. Most abortions that don’t involve the life or health of the mother are chosen by scared young women and girls who don’t know what else to do. It’s hard to apply the criminal law to acts that a substantial portion of the citizenry doesn’t believe should be labeled crimes, (as with Prohibition). I thought then [in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision] and still believe that the Court reached the right conclusion."

My Life, by Bill Clinton, p.229 , Jun 21, 2004

President George W. Bush
(43rd President, Republican, 2001-2009)

“The promises of our Declaration of Independence are not just for the strong, the independent, or the healthy. They are for everyone -- including unborn children. We are a society with enough compassion and wealth and love to care for both mothers and their children, to see the promise and potential in every human life.”
-George W. Bush (Jr.)

  • President Bush appointed two justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. In 2007 both justices voted to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.
  • In 2003, President Bush signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. When legal challenges were filed to the law, his Administration successfully defended the law and it was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • President Bush also signed into law several other crucial pro-life measures, including the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, which recognizes unborn children as victims of violent federal crimes, the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which affords babies who survive abortions the same legal protections as babies who are spontaneously born prematurely, and legislation to prevent health care providers from being penalized by the federal, state, or local governments for not providing abortions.
  • In 2007, President Bush sent congressional Democratic leaders letters in which he said that he would veto any bill that weakened any existing pro-life policy. This strong stance prevented successful attacks on the Hyde Amendment and many other pro-life laws during 2007 and 2008.
  • The Administration issued a regulation recognizing an unborn child as a “child” eligible for health services under the State Children’s Health Insurance Progam (SCHIP).
  • In 2001, President Bush declared that federal funds could not be used for the type of stem cell research that requires the destruction of human embryos. He used his veto twice to prevent enactment of bills that would have overturned this pro-life policy. The types of adult stem cell research that the President promoted, which do not require the killing of human embryos, realized major breakthroughs during his administration.
  • The Bush Administration played a key role in the United Nations, in adoption by the UN General Assembly of the historic UN declaration calling on member nations to ban all forms of human cloning (2005), and in including language in the Convention (Treaty) on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which protects persons with disabilities from being denied food, water and medical care (2006).
  • President Bush strongly advocated a complete ban on human cloning, and helped defeat “clone and kill” legislation.
  • President Bush restored and enforced the “Mexico City Policy,” which prevents tax funds from being given to organizations that perform or promote abortion overseas. The President’s veto threats blocked congressional attempts to overturn this policy. The Administration also cut off funding for the United Nations Population Fund, due to that agency’s involvement in China’s compulsory-abortion program.

Quotes from Bush (Jr.) Regarding Abortion:

"Because a society is measured by how it treats the weak and vulnerable, we must strive to build a culture of life. Medical research can help us reach that goal by developing treatments and cures that save lives and help people overcome disabilities. [...] To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others. We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity. America will continue to lead the world in medical research that is ambitious, aggressive and always ethical."

2005 State of the Union Speech, February 2, 2005

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"It’s important to promote a culture of life. A hospitable society is a society where every being counts and every person matters. The ideal world is one in which every child is protected in law and welcomed to life. I understand there’s great differences on this issue of abortion, but I believe reasonable people can come together and put good law in place that will help reduce the number of abortions. Take, for example, the ban on partial birth abortion. It’s a brutal practice. People from both political parties came together in the halls of Congress and voted overwhelmingly to ban that practice. It made a lot of sense. What I’m saying is, is that as we promote life and promote a culture of life, surely there are ways we can work together to reduce the number of abortions: continue to promote adoption laws-it’s a great alternative to abortion-continue to fund and promote maternity group homes; I will continue to promote abstinence programs."

Third Bush-Kerry Debate in Tempe AZ, October 13, 2004

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Q: What would you say to a voter asking for reassurance that tax dollars would not go to support abortion?

Bush: "We’re not going to spend taxpayers’ money on abortion. This is an issue that divides America, but certainly reasonable people can agree on how to reduce abortions in America. I signed the ban on partial birth abortion. It’s a brutal practice. It’s one way to help reduce abortions. Kerry voted against the ban. There ought to be parental notification laws. He’s against them. I signed a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence Act. If you’re a mom and you’re pregnant and you get killed, the murderer gets tried for two cases, not just one. Kerry was against that. These are reasonable ways to help promote a culture of life in America. It’s a worthy goal in America to have every child protected by law and welcomed in life. We ought to continue to have good adoption law as an alternative to abortion. We need to promote maternity group homes, which my administration has done."

Second Bush-Kerry Debate in St. Louis MO, October 8, 2004

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I support welfare reform that strengthens family and requires work. Because a caring society will value its weakest members, we must make a place for the unborn child.

2004 Republican Convention Acceptance Speech , Sep 2, 2004

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GORE (to Bush): On the issue of partial-birth or so-called late-term abortion, I would sign a law banning that procedure, provided that doctors have the ability to save a women’s life or to act if her health is severely at risk. [But] the main issue is whether or not the Roe v. Wade decision is going to be overturned. I support a woman’s right to choose; my opponent does not.

BUSH: I know we need to ban partial-birth abortions. This is a place where my opponent & I have strong disagreements. I believe banning partial-birth abortion would be a positive step toward reducing the number of abortions in America. This is an issue that’s going to require a new attitude. We’ve been battling over abortion for a long period of time. Surely this nation can come together to promote the value of life.

GORE: He trusts the government to order a woman to do what he thinks she ought to do. I trust women to make the decisions that affect their lives, their destinies and their bodies.

Presidential Debate in Boston MA, October 3, 2000:

* * *

"I will lead our nation toward a culture that values life -- the life of the elderly and the sick, the life of the young, and the life of the unborn. I know good people disagree on this issue, but surely we can agree on ways to value life by promoting adoption and parental notification, and when Congress sends me a bill against partial-birth abortion, I will sign it into law."

Speech to Republican National Convention , Aug 3, 2000

* * *

"I believe that life is valuable, even when it is unwanted, even when it is physically imperfect. I believe our society has a responsibility to defend the vulnerable and the weak. And I believe our nation should set a goal: that unborn children should be welcomed in life and protected in law. This is the ideal: a generous society that values every life. I know there are many steps on this road. A democracy is ruled by consensus, not by edict. Laws are changed as minds are persuaded. “Parental Notification Law”, Jun 7, 1999

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February 1, 2007
Letter from 34 U.S. Senators to President Bush, urging him to veto all bills that weaken pro-life policies

March 30, 2007
Letter from 155 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to President Bush, pledging to sustain pro-life vetos

On May 3, 2007, President George W. Bush wrote identical letters 
to the Speaker of the Unites States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca),
and to the Majority Leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid (D-Nv).
The letters read as follows:

May 3, 2007

Dear Madam Speaker / Dear Mr. Leader

I am concerned that this year the Congress may consider legislation that could substantially change Federal policies and laws on abortion, and allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life.  I am writing to make sure that there is no misunderstanding of my views on these important issues.  Our nation was founded on the belief that every human being has rights, dignity, and matchless value. Every child should be welcomed into life and protected in law. The advancement of science and medicine need not conflict with the ethical imperative to cherish and protect every life.  In fact, advances in science have made it possible to see life developing at earlier stages and underscore Americans' obligation to protect helpless and innocent life from destruction, whether it is in the womb or elsewhere. These issues are deeply emotional and are made even more complicated when the American taxpayer is asked to fund efforts that end human life. As you know, current law prohibits Federal funding for abortion, both domestically and internationally, except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is endangered. Recent legislative practice has ensured that taxpayer funds do not underwrite organizations that perform or promote abortion as a method of family planning.  Current U.S. law protects human embryos. The standing pattern is that appropriate conscience protections must be in place for health care entities, and that tax payer dollars may not be used in coercive or involuntary family planning programs. I urge that these and other existing, important protections be respected and continued. I believe it is the most basic duty of government to guard the innocent. With that in mind, I will veto any legislation that weakens current federal policies and laws on abortion, or that encourages the destruction of human life at any stage.

-George W. Bush

May 3, 2007
Letter from President Bush to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Ca), vowing to veto any bill that weakens a current pro-life policy

May 3, 2007
Letter from President Bush to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv), vowing to veto any bill that weakens current pro-life policy

President Barack Hussein Obama
(44th President, Democratic, 2009-present)

On January 22, 2011, the 38th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling,
President Obama issued an official statement
heralding Roe as an affirmation of “reproductive freedom,” and pledging,
“I am committed to protecting this constitutional right.”
-Barack Obama

Even after the recent Planned Parenthood scandal, exposing Planned Parenthood's practice of
harvesting of fully intact human babies for the illegal sale of human brains for stem cell research,
Obama defends Planned Parenthood and pledges that Planned Parenthood will not be de-funded
during the Obama administration.  The Obama administration awarded Planned Parenthood
1 million dollars in September 2015, despite the controversy over the trafficking of human babies.

  • Supreme Court: President Obama appointed proabortion advocates Elena Kagan (2010) and Sonia Sotomayor (2009) to the U.S. Supreme Court. As a key political aide to President Clinton, Kagan helped direct a political strategy that blocked the enactment of a ban on partial-birth abortions during the Clinton Administration. Sotomayor had previously helped direct the litigation projects of a private organization that filed multiple proabortion lawsuits, including challenges to parental notification requirements. 
  • Health care law: In 2010, President Obama narrowly won enactment of a massive health care law (“ObamaCare”) that will result in federal funding of health plans that pay for elective abortion, and will lead to large-scale rationing of lifesaving medical treatments. Obama actively worked with pro-abortion members of Congress to prevent effective pro-life language from becoming part of the final law.
  • Funding Abortion Providers: In 2011, President Obama indicated he would veto the entire federal spending bill -- forcing a government shutdown -- rather than accept a provision cutting funding to Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider. The Obama Administration later blocked efforts by several states to cut off government funds to Planned Parenthood.
  • Embryo-Destroying Research: In March 2009, President Obama issued an executive order to allow federal funding of research that requires the killing of human embryos.
  • Sex-Selection Abortion: In May, 2012, the White House announced President Obama’s opposition to a bill to prohibit the use of abortion to kill an unborn child simply because the child is not of the sex desired by the parents. The White House said that the government should not “intrude” on “private family matters.” (H.R.3541)
  • Abortion Funding: In 2011, the Obama White House issued formal veto threats against the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358), a bill that would repeal the abortion-expanding provisions of the 2010 ObamaCare law, and the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), a bill to permanently prohibit any federal program from funding elective abortions. 
  • International Abortion Advocacy: In 2009, President Obama ordered U.S. funding of private organizations that perform and promote abortion overseas. His Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, told Congress that the Administration would advocate world-wide that “reproductive health includes access to abortion.”
  • Conscience Protection: In February 2011, the Obama Administration rescinded a regulation that had been issued by the Bush Administration, which would have protected health-care providers from being penalized for refusing to participate in providing abortions. In 2012, the Administration issued a “final rule” to force many groups, including religious schools and hospitals, to provide health plans covering certain drugs and procedures, even if it violates their religious and moral convictions.

* * *

Documentation Regarding on Obama's Lengthy and Extreme Pro-Abortion Record

More on Obama's history on voting in favor of death for babies born alive after a failed abortion:

* * *

In light of Obama's view that abortionists have the right to kill infants born alive after a failed abortion,
Obama was asked the following question:
"At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?"

Obama:  "Well... uhh... I think that... whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective... uhh... answering that question with specificity... uhh... you know is... is... uhh... above my pay grade."

Video of Obama responding to this question follows immediately below:

Timeline of the History of Abortion in America

1965 - June 7:
Griswold v. Connecticut - The Supreme Court rules that the U.S. Constitution protects a "right to privacy." The case involves a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of contraceptives. By a vote of 7-2, the Supreme Court invalidates the law on the grounds that it violated the "right to marital privacy."

1967 - April 25:
Colorado Gov. John A. Love signs the first "liberalized" ALI-model abortion law in the United States, allowing abortion in cases of permanent mental or physical disability of either the child or mother or in cases of rape or incest. Similar laws are passed in California, Oregon, and North Carolina.

1970 - April 11:
New York allows abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy, as Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller signs a bill repealing the states 1830 law that banned abortion after quickening except to save a woman’s life. Similar laws are passed in Alaska, Hawaii, and Washington state.

1971 - April 21:
The U.S. Supreme Court rules on its first case involving abortion in United States v. Vuitch, upholding a District of Columbia law that permits abortion only to preserve a woman’s life or "health." However, the Court makes it clear that by "health" it means "psychological and physical well-being," effectively allowing abortion for any reason.

1973 - January 22:
The U.S. Supreme Court issues its ruling in Roe v. Wade, finding that a "right of privacy" it had earlier discovered was "broad enough to encompass" a right to abortion and adopting a trimester scheme of pregnancy. In the first trimester, a state could enact virtually no regulation. In the second trimester, the state could enact some regulation, but only for the purpose of protecting maternal "health." In the third trimester, after viability, a state could ostensibly "proscribe" abortion, provided it made exceptions to preserve the life and "health" of the woman seeking abortion. Issued on the same day, Doe v. Bolton defines "health" to mean "all factors" that affect the woman, including "physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age."

1975 - February 15:
Boston abortionist Kenneth C. Edelin is found guilty of manslaughter for the death of an unborn child (see also Dec. 17, 1976).

1975 - March 10:
The first Human Life Amendment is introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. James L. Buckley (Cons.-NY) and Jesse Helms (R-NC).

1976 - April 28:
The U.S. Senate conducts a "test vote" on the Human Life Amendment. The amendment draws 40 votes. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) is needed to approve a constitutional amendment.

1976 - June 28:
The first Hyde Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL), is approved by the U.S. House. The amendment to the Department of Health and Human Services appropriations bill prohibits Medicaid funding of abortions with narrow exceptions.

1976 - July 1:
In Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Missouri law that banned the use of saline amniocentesis as an abortion method and that obliged a married woman seeking an abortion to obtain her husband’s consent. The Court also holds that states could require a minor to obtain consent of one parent before obtaining an abortion, but the law must contain a "judicial bypass" option for minors who do not wish to obtain parental consent.

1976 - December 17:
The manslaughter conviction of abortionist Edelin 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.

1977 - June 20:
In Maher v. Roe, Beal v. Doe, and Poelker v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court holds that federal and state governments are under no obligation to fund abortion in public assistance programs, even if childbirth expenses are paid for indigent women and even if the abortion is deemed to be "medically necessary."

1980 - June 30:
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.

1981 - March 23:
In H.L. v. Matheson, the U.S. Supreme Court approves a Utah parental notification law. The law requires an abortionist to notify the parents of a minor girl who is still living at home as her parent’s dependent when an abortion is scheduled.

1982 - April:
French researcher Dr. Etienne-Emile Beaulieu of Roussel Uclaf announces that a test was conducted using the abortifacient RU 486 to abort 11 babies.

1983 - June 15:
In Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state requirements that abortions performed after the first trimester be done in a hospital, women’s right to know laws, and waiting periods after information is provided to the woman seeking abortion before she can consent to an abortion. However, the Court rules that states may insist that only licensed physicians perform abortions.

1983 - November 10:
The U.S. Congress approves the Ashbrook Amendment barring the use of federal employees’ health benefits program to pay for abortions, except for the life of the mother.

1984 - June 17:
The Reagan Administration announces the "Mexico City Policy," denying funds to foreign organizations that "perform or actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."

1985 - July 10:
U.S. 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 organization or program which, as determined by the President, supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization."

1986 - June 11:
In Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down state laws mandating that an abortionist use the method most likely to allow the child to be born alive in post-viability abortions. It also strikes down women’s right to know laws and a waiting period after information is provided to the woman seeking abortion before she can consent to an abortion.

1987 - July 30:
President Reagan announces at a meeting of pro-life activists that "a program which does provide counseling and referral for abortion services as a method of family planning will not be eligible for Title 10 funds."

1987 - August 25:
President Reagan appoints a federal task force to encourage adoption as an alternative to abortion.

1987 - October 23:
Nomination of pro-life Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court is rejected by the U.S. Senate, 58-42. Pro-abortion groups conduct a fierce campaign, which results in his defeat. This seat ultimately goes to Anthony Kennedy, who votes to reaffirm the core holdings of Roe in 1992.

1988 - March:
The Reagan Administration issues a moratorium on new federally-funded fetal tissue transplant research.

1988 - September 23:
The French government approves licensing of RU 486 for use in the country.

1988 - September 26:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issues an "Import Bulletin" banning the importation of RU 486 for personal use.

1988 - September 30:
The U.S. Senate passes an amendment to the District of Columbia appropriations bill to bar D.C. from paying for abortions or performing abortions in its city-operated hospital. Since the U.S. House had already passed the amendment, it goes into effect immediately.

1988 - October 29:
The French government orders Roussel Uclaf to reverse its October 27 decision to halt distribution of RU 486.

1989 - July 3:
In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the U.S. Supreme Court, upholding portions of a Missouri law, finds that the federal Constitution does not require the government to make public facilities such as hospitals available for use in performing abortions.

1989 - November 17:
The so-called "Freedom of Choice Act" is introduced for the first time in the U.S. House by Rep. Don Edwards (D-CA) and in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Alan Cranston (D-CA).

1989 - November 22:
President Bush vetoes a foreign aid appropriations bill because it contains the Mikulski Amendment, which would have restored funding to the UNFPA, an organization that played a key role in China’s coercive population-control program. This program violates the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which denied U.S. "population assistance" to any organization that "supports or participates in the management of a program of coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization."

1990 - June 25:
In Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a one-parent notification requirement with a judicial bypass procedure. The Court also rules, in Hodgson v. Minnesota, that a two-parent notification law with a judicial bypass is constitutional.

1990 - June 26:
In a letter to key U.S. House leaders, President Bush restates his commitment to both the Kemp/Kasten Amendment and the "Mexico City" policy, which cut off U.S. aid to organizations that promote the legalization and utilization of abortion in foreign nations.

1991 - January 25:
The French Council of State rules that the government did not have the authority to force Roussel Uclaf to resume distribution of RU 486. The decision removes Roussel’s excuse that it had no choice but to continue distributing the drug.

1991 - May 23:
In Rust v. Sullivan, 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 federal Title X family planning funds.

1991 - October 25:
Ana Rosa Rodriguez survives a third-trimester abortion attempt by New York City abortionist Abu Hayat, but is born with one arm severed at the shoulder (see also February 22, 1993).

1991 - November:
Threat of Bush veto maintains the Reagan-era ban on the performance of abortion on U.S. military bases, except to save the mother’s life.

1992 - June 29:
In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirms the core holdings of Roe but modifies it by discarding the trimester scheme, upholding certain restrictions on abortion, and adopting the "undue burden" test of abortion laws that requires opponents of an abortion regulation to prove the provision would create an "undue burden" on a woman’s right to abortion in order for it to be declared unconstitutional. The vote is 6-3.

1992 - September 13:
A gruesome abortion technique is described by abortionist Martin Haskell at a National Abortion Foundation seminar. The technique, later called "partial-birth abortion" by Congress, involves the abortionist delivering all but the head of a baby from her mother’s womb, piercing the skull, and suctioning out the brain, then completing the delivery.

1993 - January 22:
President Clinton reverses years of pro-life progress by issuing five executive orders reversing Title X regulations banning abortion referrals by federal employees, repealing the Mexico City Policy restricting federal funding of international organizations that work to reverse countries’ abortion laws, negating the ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants, ordering military hospitals to perform abortions, and asking the FDA to "review" the import ban on RU 486.

1993 - February 22:
Abortionist Abu Hayat is convicted of assault and illegal abortion for his attempt to kill Ana Rosa Rodriguez by abortion.

1993 - November 22:
The Clinton Administration announces that the International Planned Parenthood Federation will receive $75 million over the next five years.

1993 - December 28:
The Clinton Administration faxes a letter to each state’s Medicaid director ordering the states to change their laws and provide payments for abortions when an abortionist reports that a pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

1994 - January:
The American Council of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ Executive Board becomes the first national doctors’ organization to endorse training non-physicians to perform abortions.

1994 - May 15:
Roussel Uclaf donates U.S. patent rights for RU 486 to the Population Council.

1994 - June 30:
In Madsen v. Women’s Center Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court says judges may create buffer zones to keep pro-life demonstrators away from abortion clinics.

1994 - October 27:
The Population Council announces that testing of RU 486 is underway in the United States.

1995 - June 14:
Rep. Charles Canady (R-FL) introduces the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.

1995 - August 10:
Norma McCorvey, the "Jane Roe" of Roe v. Wade, tells a nationwide audience on Nightline that she rejects abortion and the pro-abortion movement and 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 was built on a lie.

1995 - November 1:
The U.S. House passes the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, the first federal bill since Roe v. Wade to ban one type of abortion. The vote was 288-139.

1995 - December 7:
The U.S. Senate passes the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, 54-44.

1996 - April 10:
President Clinton issues his first veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

1996 - May 2:
A new federal law is enacted to protect medical training programs and personnel from being forced to participate in performing or training in the performance of abortions. President Clinton reluctantly signs the measure as part of an omnibus spending bill.

1996 - September 18:
The FDA declares RU 486 "approvable," although it asks the Population Council to provide more information on "labeling and manufacturing practices" before the drug can be marketed.

1997 - February:
Ron Fitzsimmons, head of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, tells journalists he "lied through my teeth" in claiming that partial-birth abortions were performed very rarely and only for extraordinary medical reasons, explaining that he had just "spouted the party line" developed by leaders of other pro-abortion groups.

1997 - April 8:
Hoechst AG announces it is ceasing all future production, marketing, and distribution of RU 486. Instead, it says it is transferring all rights to the abortifacient in the U.S. to the Population Council and worldwide to Edouard Sakiz, former Roussel Uclaf president.

1997 - June 16:
The U.S. Supreme Court upholds a Montana law that requires that abortions be performed only by physicians, not their assistants.

1997 - October 10:
President Clinton again vetoes the ban on partial-birth abortions.

1998 - February 12:
Senator Spencer Abraham (R-MI) introduces the Child Custody Protection Act into the U.S. Senate, which would make it illegal for adults to transport minors across state lines for an abortion if that action would circumvent the parental involvement law of a state.

1998 - April 30:
Results of a U.S. trial of RU 486 are published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Population Council declares the drug "safe," downplaying the serious complications suffered by many women.

1999 - December:
A new report from Northeastern University in Boston shows that, rather than overpopulation, the real problem is just the opposite: underpopulation. Birthrates have fallen so dramatically in the northeastern United States that, for the first time, New England is dependent on foreign immigrants to sustain its workforce.

2000 - June 28:
In Stenberg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court votes 5-4 to strike down Nebraska’s law banning the late-term abortion procedure. The justices say the law, similar to those in 29 other states, imposes an "undue burden" on women’s right to end their pregnancies, because it lacks an exemption to preserve women’s health and could have been used to ban more than one abortion method.

2001 - January 22:
Two days after taking office, President Bush signs an executive order barring U.S. aid to international groups that use their own money to support abortion --- either through performing the procedure, counseling abortion as a family-planning option or lobbying foreign governments on abortion policy.

2002 - July:
FDA removes warning from second part of RU 486 abortion drug. The FDA agrees to remove that warning in April, and the new label instead states that women who are taking Cytotec to treat ulcers should not become pregnant. The change is made to reflect the fact that the drug is widely used by doctors to induce labor.

2002 - October:
A study shows that the abortion rate is dropping significantly since 1994. The overall U.S. abortion rate fell from 1994 to 2000 --- from 24 abortions for every 1,000 women of childbearing age to just 21, according to the Alan Guttmacher Institute.

2003 - January:
A study examining a variety of physical and psychological consequences associated with abortion calls for physicians to inform women about a breast cancer risk known to scientists for 33 years (the delayed first term pregnancy effect) and about the existence of research examining abortion as an independent risk factor for breast cancer.

2003 - February 17:
Holly Patterson, 18, from California dies after taking RU 486. The Alameda County Coroner’s official autopsy report states her death was a result of an incomplete abortion.

2003 - August:
Bush administration expands the Mexico City Policy. The new memo makes it clear that the pro-life policy applies to federal State Department funding of all population programs -- even if they are not funded through USAID.

2003 - November 5:
President George W. Bush signs the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 into law to end the abhorrent practice of partial birth abortion.

2004 - April 1:
The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, commonly known as "Laci and Conner’s Law," passes in Congress and is signed into law by President George W. Bush.

2004 - May 20:
The Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act is introduced in the U.S. House by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS). A similar bill is introduced in the U.S. House by Senator Chris Smith (R-NJ). The bill seeks to ensure that women seeking an abortion are fully informed regarding the pain experienced by their unborn child.

2004 - June 2:
Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton of California strikes down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Similar decisions are expected from federal courts of Nebraska and New York.

2004 - August 2:
The Bush Administration appeals the partial-birth abortion injunction ordered by Federal Judge Phyllis Hamilton in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is expected to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court.

2004 - August 26:
Federal District Judge Richard Casey in New York rules that the federal government cannot enforce the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act because the law conflicts with an earlier 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in favor of partial-birth abortion.

2004 - September 14:
A Circuit Court judge dismisses a motion brought forward by Norma McCorvey, known in legal history as "Roe" in Roe v. Wade, to overturn the landmark 1973 decision that legalized abortion in the U.S..

2004 - November 29:
The Justice Department files its brief in the appeal of Nebraska Judge Richard Kopf’s decision overturning the federal ban on partial-birth abortions. The Bush Administration asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to reverse the decision of the U.S. District Judge.

2004 - December 20:
The Department of Justice appeals to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals a decision by San Francisco-based U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton to strike down a federal ban on partial-birth abortion because the law does not include a health exception for mothers.

2005 - January 8:
Attorneys for the Center for Law & Religious Freedom of the Christian Legal Society file a friend of the court brief in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri, supporting Congress’ ban on partial-birth abortion. Center attorneys argue that the lower court in Nebraska erred in concluding that the Constitution requires the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 to contain an exception for the health of the mother. Attorneys for the Center for Law & Religious Freedom of the Christian Legal Society file a friend of the court brief in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis, Missouri, supporting Congress’ ban on partial-birth abortion. Center attorneys argue that the lower court in Nebraska erred in concluding that the Constitution requires the Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 to contain an exception for the health of the mother.

2005 - July 8:
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the national ban on partial-birth abortions is unconstitutional, citing the ban does not contain an exception for the health of the mother.

2006 - February 21:

The United States Supreme Court announces its intentions to hear the case involving the constitutionality of the national ban on partial birth abortion known as the Partial Birth Abortion Act.

2006 - February 28:

The U.S. Supreme Court rules for the third time that extortion laws cannot be used to silence protesters who demonstrate at abortion clinics.

2006 - March 6:
South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds signs into law the first abortion law in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade. The law bans most abortions in the state, excluding those abortions necessary to save a woman’s life. Doctors who are convicted of performing abortions face a felony charge of up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

2006 - June 17:
Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco signs into law a statewide ban on abortion. The law, fashioned after South Dakota’s, would be effected only if the U.S. Constitution is amended to allow states to ban abortion, or if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the 1973 Roe v. Waderuling. Doctors found guilty in performing abortions face up to ten years in prison and fines as high as $100,000.

2006 - August 24:
The FDA announces approval of Plan B, a contraceptive drug, as an over-the-counter (OTC) option for women ages 18 years and older. Plan B is often referred to as emergency contraception or the "morning after pill."

2007 - April 18:
The U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Gonzalez v. Carhart to uphold the ban on partial birth abortion known as the Partial Birth Abortion Act.

2009 - January 23:
In a presidential memorandum, President Obama repealed the "Mexico City Policy" that had prevented U.S. funding for international family planning groups tp offer advice on or perform abortions.

2009 - May 10:
Gallup reveals for the first time since it began polling, more Americans called themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice."

2010 - March 23:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (aka "Obamacare") is signed into law.

2010 - April 13:
Nebraska beoomes the first state to pass the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (which took effect October 15), banning abortions after 20 weeks' gestation on the basis of the pain abortion causes to the unborn child.

Research from the Alan Guttmacher Institute finds the number of abortions is at its lowest level since Roe v. Wade, remaining steady at about 1.2 million reported procedures in 2011, down 25% since the all-time high in 1990.

A total of 23 states enact 70 abortion restriction laws during 2013. This makes 2013 second only to 2011 in the number of new abortion restrictions enacted in a single year. More abortion restrictions are enacted between 2011 and 2013 than in the entire previous decade.

The United States Supreme Court
Rulings on Abortion

Roe v. Wade 1973 
Relying on an unstated “right of privacy" found in a “penumbra” of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Court effectively legalized abortion on demand throughout the full nine months of pregnancy. Although the Court mentioned the state's possible interest in the “potentiality of human life" in the third trimester, legislation to protect that interest would be gutted by mandated exceptions for the “health” of the mother (see Doe below). 

Doe v. Bolton 1973 
Companion case to Roe, Doe broadly defined the “heath” exception so that any level of distress or discomfort would qualify and gave the abortionist final say over what qualified: “The medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors–physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age–relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to “health." Because the application of the health exception was left to the abortionist, legislation directly prohibiting any abortion became practically unenforceable. 

Bigelow v. Virginia, Connecticut v. Menillo 1975 
Bigelow allowed abortion clinics to advertise. Menillo said that despite Roe, state prohibitions against abortion stood as applied to nonphysicians; states could also authorize non-physicians to perform abortions. 

Singleton v. Wulff 1976 
Allowed abortionists to challenge abortion-funding restrictions on behalf of their female patients. Previously, only a patient had standing in abortion cases, so this ruling had a significant impact on abortion litigation. 

Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth 1976 
The court rejected a parental consent requirement and decided that (married) fathers had no rights in the abortion decision. Furthermore, the Court struck down Missouri's effort to ban the saline amniocentesis abortion procedure, in which salt injected into the womb slowly and painfully poisons the child. 

Maher v. Roe, Beal v. Doe 1977 
States are not required to fund abortions, though they can if they choose. A state can use funds to encourage childbirth over abortion. 

Poelker v. Doe 1977 
A state can prohibit the performance of abortions in public hospitals. 

Colautti v. Franklin 1979 
Although Roe said states could pursue an interest in the “potential life” of the unborn child after viability (Roe placed this at the third trimester), the Court struck down a Pennsylvania statute that required abortionists to use the abortion technique most likely to result in live birth if the fetus is viable. 

Bellotti v. Baird (II)* 1979 
Set the standard for parental consent legislation. The Court struck down a Massachusetts law requiring a minor to obtain the consent of both parents before obtaining an abortion, insisting that states wanting to offer a “judicial bypass” exception by which the child could demonstrate her maturity to a judge or show that the abortion would somehow be in her best interest. *In Bellotti v. Baird (l) 1976, the Court returned case to the state court on a procedural issue. 

Harris v. McRae 1980 
The Court upheld Hyde Amendment, which restricted federal funding of abortion to cases here the mother’s life was endangered (rape and incest exceptions were later added). The Court said states could distinguish between abortion and "other medical procedures" because “no other procedure involves the purposeful termination of a potential life.” While the Court insisted that a woman had a right to an abortion, the state was not required to fund the exercise of that right 

Williams v. Zbaraz 1980 
States are not required to fund abortions that are not funded by the federal government, but can opt to do so. 

HL v. Matheson 1981 
Upholding a Utah statute, the Court ruled that a state could require an abortionist to notify one of the minor girl's parents before performing an abortion without a judicial bypass.

City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health 1983 
The Court struck down an ordinance passed by the City of Akron requiring: (1) that abortionists inform their clients of the medical risks of abortion, of fetal development and of abortion alternatives; (2) a 24- hour waiting period after the first visit before obtaining an abortion; (3) that second- and third-trimester abortions be performed in hospitals; (4) one-parent parental consent with no judicial bypass; (5) and the “humane and sanitary” disposal of fetal remains. Later, the Court reversed some of this ruling in Casey. 

Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City v. Ashcroft 1983 
Upheld a Missouri law requiring that post-viability abortions be attended by a second physician and that a pathology report be filed for each abortion. 

Simopoulos v. Virginia 1983 
Affirmed conviction of an abortionist for performing a second-trimester abortion in an improperly licensed facility. 

Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists 1986 
Struck down a Pennsylvania law requiring: (1) that abortionists inform their clients regarding fetal development and the medical risks of abortion; (2) reporting of information about the mother and the unborn child for second- and third-trimester abortions; (3) that the physician use the method of abortion most likely to preserve the life of a viable unborn child; and (4) the attendance of a second physician in post-viability abortions. Later, the Court reversed some of this ruling (see Casey below). 

Webster v. Reproductive Health Services 1989 
Upheld Missouri statute prohibiting the use of public facilities or personnel for abortions and requiring abortionists to determine the viability of the unborn child after 20 weeks. 

Hodgson v. Minnesota, Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health 1990 
In Hodgson, struck down Minnesota statute requiring two-parent notification without a judicial bypass, but upheld the same provision with a judicial bypass. In the same decision, the Court allowed a 48- hour waiting period for minors following parental notification. In Ohio v. Akron, the Court upheld one-parent notification with judicial bypass. 

Rust v. Sullivan 1991 
Upheld federal regulation prohibiting Title X family planning clinic personnel from counseling or referring women regarding abortion. If a clinic physically and financially separated abortion services from family planning services, the family planning component could still receive Title X money. Relying on Maher and Harris, the Court emphasized that the government is not obliged to fund abortion-related services, even if it funds parental care or childbirth. 

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey 1992 
By a sharply divided vote of 5-4, the Court reaffirmed the “central holding” of Roe, but in a 7-2 vote, suggested that states could pursue their interest in "potential" life, explicitly overruling parts of Akron and Thomburg by allowing informed consent requirements (that the woman be given information on the risks of abortion and on fetal development), a mandatory 24-hour waiting period following receipt of the information, the collection of abortion statistics, and a required one-parent consent with judicial bypass. Spousal notification provisions, however, were held unconstitutional. 

Mazurek v. Armstrong 1997 
Upheld Montana law requiring that only licensed physicians perform abortions. 

Stenberg v. Carhart 2000 
Nebraska (as did more than half the other states) passed a law to ban partial-birth abortion, a method in which the premature infant (usually in the fifth or sixth month) is delivered alive, feet first, until only the head remains in the womb. The abortionist then punctures the baby's skull and removes her brain. On a 5-4 vote, the Court shuck down the Nebraska law (and thereby rendered the other state laws unenforceable, as well). The five justices said that the Nebraska legislature had defined the method too vaguely. In addition, the five justices held that Roe v. Wade requires that an abortionist be allowed to use even this method, even on a healthy woman, if he believes it is the safest method. 

Gonzales v. Carhart 2007 
Stating that, in light of Casey, the state did have an interest in protecting fetal life, and that the law did not impose an “undue burden,” the court upheld the federal version of the Partial-birth Abortion Act, passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2003. The court was satisfied that the language of the statute was clear.