President George W. Bush signed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act on August 5, 2002, which maintains legal protection for a child born alive after an unsuccessful attempted induced abortion. They relied on methods passed down from generation to generation, from herbal abortifacients and pessaries — a tampon-like device soaked in a solution to induce an abortion — to catheter abortions that irritate the uterus and force miscarriage, to a minor surgical procedure called dilation and curettage (D&C). which remains one of the most common methods of terminating an early pregnancy. A January 2003 CBS News/The New York Times poll examined whether or not Americans thought abortion should be legal and found differences of opinion based on political affiliation and region of the country.  The margin of error is +/- 4% for the questions answered in the entire sample (“totals”) and may be higher for the subgroup questions (all other digits).  Individual states continued to expand abortion rights across the United States. Hawaii was the first state to fully legalize abortions at the woman`s request in 1970. That same year, New York allowed abortions up to 24 weeks` gestation, and similar laws were quickly passed in Alaska and Washington.
Today, abortion restrictions are passed so often that it can be easy to forget that abortion was legal for much of American history. The legal advocacy group If/When/How: Lawyering for Reproductive Justice has launched a campaign to advance the decriminalization of self-directed abortion. If/When/How also provides legal information to people with questions about self-administered abortion and their rights. Abortion is legal in the U.S. until it “accelerates” Check out our timeline of abortion law to learn more about the rise of abortion bans and restrictions in the U.S. legal system. Spoiler: It began with a concerted effort to consolidate power in the hands of wealthy white men. Daniel Medwed: Let`s take a little trip into the history of law.
From the mid to late 19th century, abortion was generally legal in the United States, at least during the first trimester, before the fetus accelerated, before a woman could feel the fetus move. Things began to change in the 1850s when the American Medical Association came out against abortion. And later, the Catholic Church announced that it would also ban abortion. Congress then passed a bill called the Comstock Act, which banned the distribution of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs through the mail. In the 1880s or so, abortion was banned throughout the country. In 2006, the youngest child to survive a premature birth in the United States was a girl born at Kapiolani Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 21 weeks and 3 days.  Due to the division between federal and state law, legal access to abortion continues to vary from state to state. Geographic availability varies widely, with 87% of the population in U.S.
counties not having an abortion provider.  In addition, many state health programs do not cover abortions due to the Hyde Amendment; Currently, 17 states (including California, Illinois and New York) offer or require such coverage.  When slavery was abolished in 1865, social control over black women`s bodies remained. Today, our white supremacist culture condemns black women for both having children and for having abortions — and blames them for virtually every decision they make and every form of agency they have over their bodies. One notable case involved a woman named Sherri Finkbine. Sherri was born in the Phoenix, Arizona area and had 4 healthy children. However, during her pregnancy with her 5th child, she had noticed that the child could have serious deformities.  Finkbine had taken sleeping pills containing a drug called thalidomide, which was also very popular in several countries.  She later learned that the drug was causing fetal malformations and wanted to warn the public. Finkbine desperately wanted an abortion, but Arizona`s abortion laws limited his decision.
In Arizona, an abortion can only take place if the mother`s life is in danger. She met a reporter from The Arizona Republic and told his story. While Sherri Finkbine wished to remain anonymous, the journalist ignored this idea. On August 18, 1962, Finkbine traveled to Sweden, where she was able to obtain a legal abortion. It was also confirmed that the child was highly deformed.  Sherri Finkbine`s story marks a turning point for women, as does the history of abortion laws in the United States. Sherri Finkbine, unlike many other women, could afford to go abroad to have an abortion. However, many women who wish to have an abortion may not be able to afford to travel. In such cases, women may turn to illegal forms of abortion.  It becomes clear how deeply rooted abortion bans are in white supremacy and patriarchal strongholds when we examine the history of black women in this country. The tradition of despising black humanity is part of more than 400 years of white supremacist systems in America. Although abortion was legal throughout the country until after the Civil War, there were different rules for enslaved black women than for white women.
Enslaved black women were precious possessions. They were not free to control their bodies and slave owners forbade them to perform abortions. First, she thought the best way forward was to cite the emerging right to privacy, a right recognized by the Supreme Court in 1965 in Griswold v. Connecticut. Well, there is nothing in the Constitution that explicitly provides for a right to privacy, but the Supreme Court has interpreted the document as implying or implying such a right. And that right to privacy was cited in a very important case in California in 1969, which overturned the arrest of a doctor who performed a series of abortions. Because so many women rely on Medicaid for their health care, the Hyde Amendment made it much harder for low-income women—women of disproportionate color—to have abortions. Anti-reproductive rights activists use the concept of “personality” to pass laws defining zygotes, embryos and fetuses as “persons” separated from the pregnant person and having full legal rights as a person. Under Roe v. Wade, state governments cannot ban late-term abortion if it is “necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother,” even if it would cause the death of a viable fetus.  This rule was reinforced in 1973 by Doe v.
Bolton, which stated that “medical judgment can be exercised taking into account all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial and the age of the woman – relevant to the patient`s well-being.”    Through this maternal mental health provision, women in the United States legally opt for post-viability abortion when screenings reveal abnormalities that do not cause a baby to die shortly after birth.     Colonial women began accelerated abortions primarily with the help of other women in their communities; Skilled midwives knew what herbs could cause a woman to have an abortion, and early American medical books even gave instructions for “suppressing classes” or inducing an abortion. Much of what we know about abortion in 18th century America comes from the case of Sarah Grosvenor, a young woman who died of a late-night surgical abortion in Connecticut in 1742. Surgical abortions are rare and dangerous; Most abortions during this period were caused by herbal abortifacients. Sarah`s case was included in legal acts after the doctor who performed her abortion was brought to justice for the murder of the young woman and her unborn child – the abortion was illegal because it took place after the acceleration.