Case History of Abortion in America – A Survey (By: John D. Ferrer, 6 May 2013)

With the founding of America in the 15th to 18th centuries, early America was very Christian in its leanings, but that form of Christianity was colored by various historical factors including (1) the protestant reformation, (2) church-state conflicts in Europe, (3) rising political liberalism (i.e., John Locke, Alec de Toqueville, etc.), (4) the French Revolution, (5) the French Wars of Religion, (6) the Enlightenment, (7) Modern Science, and the (8) American Dream. The views on abortion were shaped by British common law, Natural Law Ethics, Christian scriptural/Biblical ethics.

Broadly stated, human life was thought to be “sacred” in a secular and religious sense (i.e., set apart as deserving special protection and the highest value). Traditional family values, traditional family roles, and great individualism were normal to America from its founding up through to till roughly the 1950’s.

Case History of Abortion in America

British Common Law (17th-mid. 18th century) Abortion is legal in all States prior to the quickening, as fetology at the time was not clear about when human life began. It was widely thought life began only then when mother detects fetal movement.
Lochner v. New York (1905) NY Worker’s Union case. Court ruled for individual liberty on basis of “substantive due process.” This ruling was decried by later Supreme Court verdicts (1937>) for reading economic theories into the constitution; instead, civil rights are the more proper domain for these kinds of rulings.
State courts (1850-1960) All states pass laws banning abortion. A common exception is in case of mortal threat to the mother.
Sherri Finkbine (1962) Unwittingly taking Thalidomide (A.K.A., “monster maker”), Finkbine carries a deformed child in utero. Seeking a legal abortion she is denied in the U.S. raising sympathy for abortion in the U.S.
State Courts (1962-1973) 17 states pass/amend laws opening abortion to cases of rape, health risks, and fetal damage. Four states, AK, HI,NY,WA, allow it at woman’s and doctor’s discretion. Only PA kept full abortion ban.
Griswold v. Conn. (1964) Married couples have a right to use contraceptives. Right to privacy is an implied constitutional right.
Eisenstadt v. Baird (1971) Singles (non-married & non-couples) have a right to use contraceptives. Right to privacy is extended.
Roe v. Wade (1-22-1973) Legalized Abortion on demand by way of right to privacy. Fetus’s are declared “non-persons,” not covered by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution.
Doe v. Bolton (1-22-1973) Expanded abortion legally to include any distress as a health reason. “On-demand” status now includes psychological distress and most any need or interest of the mother.
Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (7-1-1976) Supreme court overturns a Missouri law requiring husband’s consent for abortion.
Beal v Doe (1-11-1977) States aren’t required to pay for non-therapeutic (not medically required) abortions by medicad
Harris v. McRae (6-30- 1980) Supreme court upholds Hyde Amendment (Social Securities act) restricting Medicaid funding for abortion to cases of life endangerment, rape, or incest.
H.L. v. Matheson (March 23, 1981) States may require doctors to inform the parents of a teenager’s planned abortion.
Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (7-3-1989) Affirmed that, “The life of each human being begins at conception.” States have regulatory rights but can’t outlaw abortion. These include banning use of public facilities and employees to perform abortions. Also state’s must test for viability at 24 weeks of gestation.
Hodgson v Minnesota (6-25-1990) Minnesota law is upheld requiring parental consent for abortion.
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (6-29-1992) State rights are extended to include making laws which require counseling, parental consent, and waiting periods so long as they do not involve “undue burden” or “substantial obstacle” to the mother.
Stenberg v. Carhart (6-28- 2000) Nebraska ban on partial birth abortion is struck down invalidating similar laws in 30 other states.
Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 2003 (11-5-2003) G. W. Bush signs into law a prohibition on certain abortion procedures, namely, partial birth abortion.
Gonzalez v. Carhart and Gonz. v. Planned Parent. (4-18-2007) The ban on partial birth abortion is upheld, departing from past rulings that struck down any such bans if they did not carry exceptions for protecting women’s health (generally).
Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection act (2012) Passed in several states including GA, NE, AL, KS, and ID banning abortion after the 20th week of pregnancy but it’s allowed if the mother’s life is in danger.
McCorvey v. Hill (2-22-2005) Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) sought to overturn the ruling of Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of Roe v. Wade.
Pre-abortion Ultrasound Act (2007-pending) Passed in various forms in 12 states. This act requires ultrasound before giving an abortion.
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About intelligentchristianfaith

Married man. Teacher. Theologian. Philosopher. Workout nut. Prefer cats to dogs. Coffee buff. Transplant to Texas. Carolina Panthers fan. Perpetually pursuing the world's best burger.
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