History

“When we put this together [the March for Life], we thought there was only going to be one march. And then we realized Congress wasn’t going to help, and we better have a second march. And what I am saying to you is, we will be here until we overturn Roe v. Wade, and believe me, we are going to overturn Roe v. Wade.”

– Nellie Gray, Foundress of the March for Life –

Throughout the years, we have seen the affect that abortion has had on our country, our state, and our communities. As Pro-Lifers, we will remain in the fight until every one of our brothers and sisters is protected and the course of history is changed forever. As Nellie Gray so fiercely puts it, “we will be here” until abortion is abolished. 

Legislative History

  • 1959 – The American Law Institute proposes its model of a penal code for state abortion laws. The model further serves to push the legalization of abortion for reasons such as rape, incest, fetal abnormalities, and the mental/physical health of the mother.
  • January 22, 1973 – The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issues the ruling in the landmark case, Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion in all 50 states. In addition, Doe vs. Bolton defines “health” of the mother as all factors that might affect a woman in pregnancy.
  • June 28, 1976 – Hyde Amendment – prohibits Medicaid funding of abortions with narrow exceptions.
  • July 1, 1976 – Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri vs. Danforth – the court rejects the need for parental consent and rules that (married) fathers have no rights in the abortion decision.
  • June 30, 1980 – Harris vs. McRae – SCOTUS upholds the Hyde Amendment.
  • June 11, 1986 – Thornburgh vs. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists – SCOTUS strikes down women’s right to know laws and the waiting period after abortion information has been provided to a woman, before she consents to having an abortion.
  • July 3, 1989 – Webster vs. Reproductive Health Services – SCOTUS rules that the Constitution does not require the government to force public facilities, such as hospitals, to offer abortions.
  • November 18, 1989 – Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act – passed in 1989 but it was held up by court injunction until 1994. It included abortion control requirements such as informed consent, parental consent, and reporting. Most of the provisions were upheld in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey. 
  • January 22, 1993 – Bill Clinton becomes the new president and erases years of Pro-Life progress as he signs five executive orders that reverse abortion regulations, repeals the Mexico City Policy, negates a ban on funding for fetal tissue transplants, orders military hospitals to perform abortions, and makes RU 486 more accessible.
  • June 30, 1994 – Madsen vs. Women’s Centers – SCOTUS rules that judges may enforce buffer zones to keep pro-lifers away from abortion facilities.
  • November 1, 1995 – Partial-Birth Abortion Ban – The bill that would see years of struggle until signed into law by Bush in 2003 is proposed and passed by the House and Senate. It would later be vetoed by Clinton on two different occasions.
  • 2007 – SCOTUS upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban in Gonzales vs. Carhart. 

History of the Pro-Life Movement

  • 1875 – Susan B. Anthony speaks out against abortion in her famous speech titled “Social Purity”, alongside many other nineteenth century feminists.
  • 1973 – As a result of the landmark decision passed down in Roe vs. Wade, the National Right to Life Committee is established.
  • January 22, 1974 – The first ever March for Life is held in Washington D.C., led by its foundress Nellie Gray.
  • June 28, 1974 – The Hyde Amendment is proposed to prohibit tax-payer funded abortions. It is later upheld in 1980.
  • 1980s – The Pro-Life movement shifts to the grassroots: more Pregnancy Help Centers and Crisis Pregnancy Centers open nationwide.
  • November 10, 1983 – Congress passes the Ashbrook Amendment which keeps federal employees health benefits programs from funding abortions.
  • June 17, 1986 – The Mexico City Policy – President Reagan’s policy keeps federal funds from going to foreign organizations that support and administer abortion as a method of family planning.
  • 1988 – The American Collegians for Life is established; this organization would later be renamed “Students for Life of America” in 2006.
  • 1990s – PHCs and CPCs flourish while Sidewalk Counseling and prayer vigils become the main form of Pro-Life activism.
  • March 30, 1995 – Pope John Paul II publishes his encyclical titled The Gospel of Life.
  • August 10, 1995 – Norma McCorvey, also known as “Jane Roe” tells the nation that she regrets abortion and her role in the pro-abortion movement. The Pro-Life movement welcomes her with open arms as an advocate for life.

More information can be found at: Students for Life