Roe v. Wade
Abortion in U.S. History
Politicians opposed to abortion rights have made it clear that their ultimate goal is to ban abortion nationwide. Join the fight for our right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures!
No one is free unless they control their own body. Abortion is an essential part of sexual and reproductive health care. Both in-clinic and medication abortions are very safe.
Nearly a fourth of women in America will have an abortion by age 45. Abortion has been practiced for thousands of years in cultures throughout the world.
The ability to control your own personal medical decisions, including whether to end a pregnancy, is a fundamental human right. Restricting abortion access is dangerous and inhumane.
And yet, on June 24, 2022, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — the case that had recognized the federal constitutional right to abortion in 1973. The Supreme Court’s new ruling means that we have lost federal constitutional protection for abortion.
This devastating decision turns back the clock on reproductive rights 50 years. It gives politicians the authority to make decisions for you. And it lets them control what your future will look like.
Now, abortion bans will spread across much of the country.
But the abortion rights movement is strong, and we’re not backing down. Planned Parenthood Action Fund is fighting even harder for the rights of all people — and generations to come — to live the life they choose. We just need one thing: your support.
Join us in the fight for our right to make decisions about our bodies, lives, and futures!
Roe v. Wade
Abortion in U.S. History
Here’s what that means.
The U.S. Supreme Court is now dominated by justices hostile to our freedom — and in June 2022, the court took away our federal constitutional right to abortion. This ruling robbed us of our power to make personal decisions about our own bodies, and gave that control to politicians.
This decision overturns nearly 50 years of precedent. And it goes against the will of the American people, 80% of whom believe that abortion should be legal.
Abortion bans have already taken effect in some states. In others, the Supreme Court’s outrageous decision is fueling efforts by narrow-minded politicians to ban abortion soon.
Abortion bans can trap people into inhumane situations, forcing them to remain pregnant or — if they have the resources — to travel hundreds or thousands of miles for a legal abortion.
But politicians who oppose abortion won’t stop with state bans. They ultimately want to ban abortion nationwide and make safe, legal abortion completely impossible.
We are outraged and ready to fight like hell.
No judge, no politician, no law should ever block your personal medical decisions or set the course for your life. Abortion access should not be based on your ZIP code, income level, or immigration status.
Types of State Restrictions on Abortion
Abortion bans began in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when men in power sought to strategically control the country’s women and reproduction. State bans caused abortion care to go underground. But advocates for the right to access abortion fought back. And in 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized abortion as a constitutional right in its Roe v. Wade decision.
In the decades since, abortion opponents stacked federal courts with anti-abortion judges; passed abortion bans; spread deceptions; imposed arbitrary restrictions; and waged one legal battle after another. Now, they have reversed Roe v. Wade.
Abortion bans are a product of the historic and systemic barriers to health care that too many communities face every day.
America’s legacy of racism and discrimination has already blocked access to care and opportunity — generation after generation — for Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color. Abortion bans harm them the most.
Abortion bans and restrictions also fall hard on people with low incomes, for whom the cost of transportation, childcare, and time off work often conspire to put abortion out of reach — even where it is legal.
On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade — throwing out the 1973 decision that recognized abortion as a constitutional right, and handing politicians across the country the power to make decisions about our bodies, our lives, and our futures.
The Supreme Court plans to end the constitutional right to abortion — taking away our power to control our own bodies — and politicians aim to outlaw abortion across the United States, no matter where you live. We're fighting back.
Emboldened by a Supreme Court decision that could end the constitutional right to abortion this spring, politicians opposed to abortion rights have wasted no time advancing laws to harshly restrict abortion or ban it entirely.
No matter what, Planned Parenthood believes you deserve accurate information and access to the full range of reproductive health care services — including safe, legal abortion — so you can make your own, fully informed health-care decisions.
Here are key attacks on abortion providers and abortion rights in the past decade.
2009: Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, is assassinated while attending church in Kansas
2010: Swept up by hostility to health-care legislation, anti-abortion politicians win elections to Congress and state legislatures — and then use gerrymandering and voting restrictions to entrench themselves in office.
2011: Thirty-six states enact a then-record 92 new abortion restrictions.
2012: Nineteen states enact 43 new abortion restrictions.
2013: Ignoring mass protests, anti-abortion Texas politicians enact sweeping abortion restrictions. In the following three years, half of Texas's approximately 40 abortion providers close, leaving many people to travel hundreds of miles or cross states lines to get an abortion
2014: Fifteen states enact 26 new abortion restrictions, including two bans on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy — bringing the total of states enacting 20-week abortion bans to 13.
2015: Anti-abortion extremists linked to the group that killed Dr. Tiller release misleading, deceptive smear videos to demonize abortion providers and smear Planned Parenthood.
2016: Anti-abortion Justice Antonin Scalia dies, setting up a fight for the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. In an unprecedented step, anti-abortion Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refuses to start the confirmation process to fill the vacancy. Then, despite running close to 3 million votes behind his opponent, Donald Trump wins enough electoral votes to become president-elect.
2017: Trump attacks abortion access — and swiftly moves on his promise to name judges who would “automatically” overturn Roe v. Wade.
2018: Trump appoints — and the Senate confirms — a second anti-abortion Supreme Court justice, Brett Kavanaugh.
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.
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.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies, and the U.S. Senate majority rushes to confirm Justice Amy Coney Barrett as Ginsburg’s replacement.
In one of the most extreme abortion bans this country has ever seen, politicians, neighbors, and even complete strangers can sue anyone who helps a person access an abortion in Texas after six weeks.
Other states follow Texas’s lead by introducing “copycat” legislation.