Abortion in the United States

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The issue of abortion is notoriously controversial. Since the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Casey v. Planned Parenthood, states have enacted different restrictions on the procedure. These restrictions vary from state to state. Nineteen states currently have laws prohibiting partial-birth abortion, and forty-one states strictly prohibit abortions except in cases of life-endangerment. One particularly incendiary area of abortion law is that of public funding. However, as of this year there are only seventeen states that cover abortion procedures through public funding. In this paper we will discuss federal abortion legislation, while describing the laws and political ideologies of the following states: Texas, California, New York and Florida. First, however, it is important to understand the history surrounding abortion laws in the states.

The Brief History of State Abortion Laws

Long before Roe v. Wade, states had established their own laws on abortion. The earliest recorded legal restriction on abortion was enacted in 1820 in the state of Connecticut. This law banned abortions through the intake of toxic substances, and was in place for 112 years. The law was ruled unconstitutional in a three-to-one decision by the Supreme Court in April of 1972 (Gazette). In 1967 Colorado was the first state to legalize abortion in cases where the life of the mother was not at risk. Among the states that followed were Hawaii and New York. However, it was during the Women’s Rights Movement that the abortion debate came to its boiling point.

During the late 60’s and 70’s, activists viewed abortion to be not only a medical procedure, but a symbol of a woman’s right to choose. One e...

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