1969: Planned Parenthood Federation of America publicly calls for the elimination of all anti-abortion laws in the criminal codes of the various states. They seek to make abortion a legally sanctioned medical procedure.
1972: Pennsylvania Governor Milton Shapp vetoes a tough anti-abortion bill passed by the legislature. He says it is “so restrictive as to be unenforceable”. The legislature overrides his veto. Pro-abortion forces take the law to federal court; in 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Colautti v. Franklin that the statute is too vague and too restrictive on the professional judgment of physicians. Among its provisions is a requirement that an abortionist use a method most likely to save the life of a viable preborn child.
1976: The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Sendak v. Arnold. This case involved an Indiana law requiring first trimester abortions be performed in a hospital or licensed health care facility. The Supreme Court declared such protections for women and girls to be “unconstitutional”.
1977: A Carter-appointed “study group” declares that the only real options to abortion are “suicide, motherhood and …. madness”. Connie Downey, head of the group, issues a memo to Health, Education & Welfare Secretary Joseph Califano, in which she says that the study group lacked the direction, scope, authorization and money needed to solve the problems associated with unwanted pregnancies.
1978: Pro-Life leaders announce plans to defeat five liberal pro-abort senators in the 1980 general elections. Those efforts were largely successful and heralded a more aggressive electoral strategy for the pro-family movement.
1979: The New York Times releases a national poll purporting to find that 64% of Roman Catholics and 69% of Protestants support abortion rights, at least in some cases.
The poll is part of a long-standing propaganda campaign by the mainstream media to persuade both the public and policy makers that America has come to accept the “wisdom” of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade.
1983: The Congress approves a spending bill that bars federal employee health benefits from covering abortions, unless the mother’s life is threatened.
1988: Democrat Presidential candidate Michael Dukakis reaffirms his party’s commitment to abortion rights. Five days later, Ronald Reagan signs a law banning the commercial sale of fetal tissue and organs.
1989: President George Bush extends a 19-month old ban on federal funding of research using fetal tissue. Some scientists decry the decision as an obstacle to finding cures for diabetes and Parkinson’s Disease.
Also that year, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Courter of New Jersey loses his general election after switching his position on abortion late in the campaign. After beginning his career as a “pro-Life” politician, Courter finds that he has actually been a closet “pro-choice” guy all along.
The Pennsylvania Legislature enacts a series of pro-Life laws, which is signed into law by Democrat Governor Robert P. Casey. The legislation is challenged in federal court and ultimately produces the seminal Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling of 1992.
2005: Idaho Federal Judge Lynn Winmill denies the State’s petition to reconsider his earlier ruling striking Idaho’s amended Parental Consent Law. The law, enacted by the Legislature in 2000, was upheld by Idaho Federal Magistrate Mikel Williams in the fall of 2000 – but subsequently struck by a 3-judge panel of the 9th Circuit. After the Legislature amended the law in 2005, to meet the 9th Circuit’s objections – Planned Parenthood refiled its lawsuit. They claimed the law violated the Constitution because it required parents to be notified in cases of medical emergency. The Abortion Lobby also decried a provision which required judges to investigate suspected cases of child sexual abuse. Winmill agreed. The most outrageous portion of Winmill’s edict, however, was his refusal to honor the Legislature’s severability language; this despite clear Supreme Court precedent on the matter.
Also in 2005: The U.S. Supreme Court held oral arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, involving a parental notice law in New Hampshire. It is the first abortion case before the Court in five years. Outgoing Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat for the arguments, as Judge Samuel Alito’s confirmation remained pending before the U.S. Senate.