Wed 1 Dec 2010
Julie Z at the fbomb created a nifty reproductive rights timeline. Here are some excepts:
1870’s: The Comstock Laws are passed, making contraception illegal and declaring that all attempts to make contraception and family planning available are, “obscene.” These laws resulted in a lot of unwanted pregnancies, and increasing poverty because families of lower classes often had more children than they could support. The Comstock Laws led to illegal abortions. While wealthy women could find a way to obtain safer abortions under the radar, poor women had to resort to causing themselves extreme physical strain or inserting sharp devices (like clothes hangers) into themselves. Such methods commonly resulted in, “cervical wounds, serious bleeding, infections, shock and death.”
1936: Sanger is arrested when postal authorities find that she is illegally ordering contraception. Her case was reviewed by Judge Augustus Hand, writing for the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, how overrode the Comstock Laws, and ruled that contraception could no longer be considered obscene. The ruling applies to New York, Connecticut and Vermont. It isn’t until the 1960’s that married couples in the United States can obtain contraceptives from licensed physicians.
1967-1970: Colorado becomes the first state to liberalize abortion laws by developing the “Model Penal Code on Abortion” which advocated for legal abortion in cases of “rape, incest, severe fetal defects, and when the women’s life or health was at risk.” Hawaii (which made abortion totally legal), New York (which allowed abortion through the 24th week of pregnancy if the procedure was preformed by a licensed physician), Alaska and Washington soon followed.
2009: Dr. George Tiller is murdered because of his standing as one of the few doctors in the United States to perform late-term abortions. His murder came after years of threatened violence, witnessing his clinic being bombed, being shot in both arms and facing multiple law suits against his operation.”
Check out the whole post here!