Timeline of Attacks on Abortion: 2009–2021
When former President Trump reshaped the federal courts, the efforts of abortion opponents shifted into high gear. Their tactics became even more deceptive and extreme than before Trump came to office.
Here's how anti-abortion politicians have tried to undercut Roe v. Wade and access to safe, legal abortion across the last decade.
The 2021 state legislative season is the most hostile in recent history for reproductive health and rights. State lawmakers, emboldened by the new makeup of the Supreme Court and the 200+ federal judges the Trump administration appointed, are pushing a harmful agenda against our rights and freedoms.
Some anti-abortion politicians seized on the COVID-19 pandemic to try to impose abortion bans. See the timeline of the new coronavirus-based abortion bans and our fight against them.
May 15, 2019
Alabama enacts a near-total ban on abortion
The Alabama legislation — the most extreme signed into law in any state since Roe v. Wade in 1973 — includes no exceptions for rape or incest. Anti-abortion politicians in the state say they hope legal challenges to the law reach the Supreme Court, where anti-abortion justices can undermine or overturn Roe
May 7, 2019
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs 6-week abortion ban into law
… making the state the fourth in 2019 to enact an unprecedented — and unconstitutional — ban on abortion at a point in pregnancy before most people even know they’re pregnant. (Missouri will enact a similar ban the following week).
May 1, 2019
States have adopted 37 new restrictions on abortion rights and access
… since the beginning of 2019.
Winter and Spring 2019
Trump spews inflammatory lies about abortion later in pregnancy
In press remarks and at rallies, Trump echoes rhetoric used by a growing number of anti-abortion politicians — manufacturing outrage against safe, legal abortion by accusing pro-reproductive health politicians of supporting infanticide.
Feb. 22, 2019
The Trump-Pence administration issues a Title X gag rule
… in an attempt to ban providers in the Title X program from telling millions of patients how they can safely and legally access abortion — and “defund” Planned Parenthood health centers by making it impossible for Title X patients to obtain birth control there.
Feb. 4, 2019
U.S. Supreme Court stops Louisiana TRAP law from taking effect – for now
In a 5-to-4 split, the justices vote to enjoin the law and review the case. Justice Kavanaugh votes to let the law take effect, writing that abortion providers should have sought admitting privileges before their appeal — even though the TRAP law, if efforts to obtain admitting privileges failed, would leave the entire state with only one abortion-providing clinician at one clinic.
15 states enact 23 new abortion restrictions
Among the new restrictions: a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, an even more radical 6-week ban in Iowa, and a host of attacks on patients’ access to care and information in other states.
Oct. 6, 2018
Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Supreme Court
Anti-abortion senators plowed ahead with Kavanaugh’s confirmation process despite mass outrage over credible allegations of sexual assault. Kavanaugh’s appointment solidifies an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court — supplanting a key vote that affirmed the right to access abortion with a justice known for voting to undermine Roe.
Sept. 26, 2018
Federal appeals court upholds a Louisiana TRAP law
In a sharp apparent departure from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in Whole Woman’s v. Hellerstedt, appeals judges hold that forcing Louisiana abortion providers to obtain hospital admitting privileges would not impose an undue burden on abortion access — even though the law, if enforced, could wipe out access to abortion in the state except at one New Orleans health center.
Anti-abortion legislative efforts soar in the states
Nineteen states adopt 63 new restrictions on abortion rights and access — the largest number of abortion restrictions enacted in a calendar year since 2013.
June 30, 2017
Anti-abortion politicians force the closure of four Iowa Planned Parenthood health centers
The closures — which follow anti-abortion Gov. Kim Reynolds’s signature of a “defunding” measure into law, over vehement opposition by thousands of Iowans — leave nearly 15,000 Iowans without access to their trusted health care provider.
January 31, 2017
Trump nominates conservative judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court
… to fill the seat held open by anti-abortion Senate members’ unprecedented obstruction following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. The Senate moves quickly to confirm Gorsuch — placing him on the U.S. Supreme Court by April.
Jan. 23, 2017
President Trump reinstates and expands the global gag rule
… almost immediately after taking office — severely restricting access to reproductive health care abroad, and endangering the health of millions of women and girls in developing countries.
18 states enact 50 new abortion restrictions
Nov. 8, 2016
Donald Trump wins enough electoral votes to become president-elect of the United States
… despite running close to 3 million votes behind his chief opponent.
Oct. 19, 2016
Trump promises to nominate judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade
Aug. 22, 2016
Planned Parenthood announces the closure of its Appleton, Wis., health center
This is the sixth health center to close in Wisconsin since Gov. Scott Walker “defunded” Planned Parenthood in 2011. None of the other five were facilities that provided abortions.
July 18, 2016
The Republican Party includes talking points drawn from 2015’s debunked anti-abortion videos in its national platform
June 27, 2016
The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ HB 2 TRAP law as unconstitutional
In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the Court rules that because HB 2 — if fully enforced — would shut down most clinics in the state, it imposed an undue burden on Texans seeking safe, legal abortion care.
March 16, 2016
President Obama nominates appellate judge Merrick Garland to succeed Scalia
… but in an unprecedented step, anti-abortion Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to start the confirmation process — blocking President Obama from filling the vacancy.
Feb. 13, 2016
Anti-abortion Justice Antonin Scalia dies
His death sets up a fight for the future of the U.S. Supreme Court.
17 states enact 57 new abortion restrictions
Oct. 7, 2015
Anti-abortion politicians in the U.S. House of Representatives launch a congressional investigation into Planned Parenthood
… based on deceptive anti-abortion videos released earlier in 2015. They find no wrongdoing.
Nov. 27, 2015
Three people murdered at a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado
The shooter, a mentally disturbed person, invokes a talking point used by politicians who touted deceptive anti-abortion videos.
Anti-abortion presidential candidates use deceptive anti-abortion videos to justify calls to “defund” Planned Parenthood
During a Republican primary debate on Sept. 16, candidate Carly Fiorina urges others to watch discredited, inflammatory footage doctored to appear to have come from Planned Parenthood health centers.
July 14, 2015
Anti-abortion extremists release misleading, deceptive videos to demonize abortion providers and smear Planned Parenthood
The activists behind the videos have ties to the group that influenced Dr. George Tiller’s assassin. Anti-abortion politicians invoke deceptions from those videos to justify attempts to “defund” Planned Parenthood health centers and push a wave of abortion bans in states across the country.
15 states enact 26 new abortion restrictions
This includes two bans on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy — bringing the total of states enacting 20-week abortion bans to 13.
Nov. 4, 2014
Anti-abortion politicians win another wave election
Buoyed by voter-suppression measures made possible by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Shelby County v. Holder ruling, abortion opponents tighten their grip on power in several states.
July 18, 2013
Ignoring mass protests, anti-abortion Texas politicians enact House Bill 2, a sweeping TRAP law
In the next three years, half of Texas's abortion providers close. Across 2013, 22 states enact 70 new abortion restrictions — with Texas, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Arkansas together accounting for 26.
April 26, 2013
Republican members of Congress introduce another nationwide 20-week abortion ban bill.
Nineteen states enact 43 new anti-abortion restrictions, including TRAP laws designed to punish health-care providers who serve people seeking abortion.
Anti-abortion politicians give lip service to caring about women to pass these TRAP laws, lying about how the laws would help women’s health. But their real aim their is to shut down abortion providers and make it more difficult for people to access abortion.
Thirty-six states enact a then-record 92 new laws that restrict safe, legal abortion and target abortion providers
Among the cornucopia of restrictions are “TRAP laws,” onerous and medically unnecessary regulations on abortion providers — such as requiring hallways in health centers to measure a certain width; mandating admitting privileges for clinicians at local hospitals (which, due to anti-abortion beliefs or political intimidation, hospitals may refuse to grant); and forcing abortion providers to relocate to sites near hospitals or away from schools (an unaffordable task for many nonprofits).
June 26, 2011
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signs a budget that “defunds” Planned Parenthood
The move excludes Planned Parenthood health centers from funds that support key services: cancer screenings, annual exams, HIV and STI tests, birth control, and more. By 2013, five rural Wisconsin health centers are forced to close.
Nov. 2, 2010
Anti-abortion politicians win election to Congress and state legislatures
… swept up by hostility to health-care legislation. They then use gerrymandering and voting restrictions to entrench themselves in office.
May 31, 2009
Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, is assassinated while attending church in Kansas
The murderer — who uses inflammatory language from the anti-abortion movement in his defense — has ties to Operation Rescue, a militant anti-abortion group that had run a multi-decade harassment campaign against Dr. Tiller.