History of the Federal Abortion Ban

  • 1995–96: Congress passes the first nationwide ban on abortion in 1995, which is vetoed by President Bill Clinton in 1996. Although abortion foes are able to override the president's veto in the House, senators sustain the president's action and prevent the act from becoming law.
  • 1997: Congress passes a slightly amended version of the law, which is again vetoed by President Clinton.
  • 1999–2000: The Senate and House again pass the 1997 version of the abortion ban. But when the congressional session ends, the bill dies.
  • 2002: A new abortion ban is passed in the House of Representatives.
  • 2003: Congress passes and President George W. Bush signs the first federal law banning second-trimester abortions. 
  • 2003: Enforcement of the federal ban is blocked as a result of three lawsuits filed in federal courts in California (brought by Planned Parenthood Federation of America on behalf of its member affiliates), Nebraska (brought by the Center for Reproductive Rights on behalf of Dr. LeRoy Carhart and other doctors), and New York (brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and Wilmer Cutler & Pickering LLP on behalf of the National Abortion Federation and other doctors).  
  • 2004–2005: The U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeals in all three cases declare the federal abortion ban unconstitutional. 
  • June 20, 2006: In response to the requests of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the Supreme Court grants review of two of the appeals courts’ decisions striking down the federal abortion ban.
  • April 18, 2007: The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal abortion ban, which criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are safe and the best to protect women’s health.
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Communications on this site related to Virginia state elections are paid for by Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC. Authorized by Ralph Northam, candidate for Governor, Justin Fairfax, candidate for Lt Governor, and Mark Herring, candidate for Attorney General.

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