Timeline of abortion ruling in the United States courts


(NewsNation) —  NewsNation takes a look at the history of abortion rights in America, as a leaked draft opinion suggests the Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade.

Prior to the landmark case, abortion was legal in several states under certain conditions, but the state-by-state situation all changed with the decision in 1973.

In a 7-2 decision in 1973, the all-male Supreme Court at the time ruled that the Constitution protects the right to an abortion. How that right is defined has been a battle in the high court ever since.

In 1980, the Supreme Court upheld the Hyde Amendment. The legislation banned the use of Medicaid funds for abortions.

In 1992, litigation against Pennsylvania’s Abortion Control Act reached the Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. That decision limited but did not eliminate abortion rights.

In 2007, the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on dilation and extraction, a procedure opponents call partial birth abortion.

Almost a decade later, in 2016, the Supreme Court changed significantly. Donald Trump was elected president and confirmed three justices to the court during his term in office: Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. This gave conservatives a 6-3 supermajority.

With the new group of freshly appointed justices, just last year, the high court agreed to consider Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. The case is a challenge to Mississippi’s ban on abortion after 15 weeks.

That led to Tuesday’s renewed abortion debate after Politico obtained a Supreme Court draft written by Justice Samuel Alito. The draft indicated that the court may be preparing to overturn Roe. Alito called Roe v. Wade “egregiously wrong from the start.”

An actual decision on the matter was originally expected to come sometime later this summer, and the first draft opinion from Alito does not necessarily represent the court’s ultimate decision.

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