1800s: British law making abortion illegal was adopted by most states in the U.S. Prior to this, abortion was regarded as legal until the woman could feel her fetus move, or "quicken". 1873: The Comstock Act passes, prohibiting the distribution and advertisement of birth control products. This Act allowed the postal service to confiscate birth control devices sent through the mail. 1900: Abortion is a crime in every U.S. state. Some states allowed abortion under certain circumstances, such as when pregnancy posed a risk to the patient. 1938: A federal judge lifts the ban on the sale and advertisement of contraceptive devices. Condoms and diaphragms become widely available. 1956: The first large-scale clinical trial of the birth control pill is started in Puerto Rico. The women involved in the trial were not informed of what was being tested on them, and had to endure the side-effects of a pill that was much stronger than those available today. 1957: The pill is approved by the FDA for treatment of severe menstrual cramps. The pill doesn't get approved for use as a contraceptive until 1960. 1965: Married women secure the right to use contraception in a landmark Supreme Court decision (Griswold v. Connecticut). Unmarried women are denied access to contraception in many states. 1968: The Vatican prohibits Catholic women from using the pill. 1972: A Supreme Court decision (Baird v. Eisenstadt) guarantees access to contraception for all women, regardless of marital status. 1973: In Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court legalizes abortion up to the point at which a fetus could survive outside the womb (generally regarded as 24 weeks after conception). This is what protects access to abortion for women in the U.S. today. 1973: The Helms Amendment prevents foreign aid funds from being directed to abortion services and related education overseas. 1976:The Hyde Amendment was first signed into law. This bans federal funds from being used for abortion cervices. This continues to affect Medicare and Medicaid recipients. 1992: As ruled by the Supreme Court (Planned Parenthood v. Casey), state governments cannot place an "undue burden" on women trying to access abortion services.
The battle to preserve reproductive freedoms in both Texas and the United States of America as a whole is ongoing. Click here to volunteer with the TX Handmaids and connect with ongoing efforts to protect reproductive freedoms for all: