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Timeline: 30 years of abortion rights history

pulled from the archived pages of Minnesota Women’s Press

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1973
Roe vs. Wade is decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Abortion is now legal under the 14th Amendment. In Minnesota, 20 doctors generate state guidelines on abortion. Welfare is authorized to pay for abortions.

1975
Minnesota congressmen Rick Nolan and Jim Oberstar seek pro-life amendment. Anti-abortion groups utilize fasting as a protest tactic.

1978
The Minnesota welfare department stops funding elective abortions. Congress passes the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortion, allowing exceptions only for pregnancies that endanger the life of the woman, or that result from rape or incest.

1980
U.S. Supreme Court determines that the Minnesota Medicaid program must pay for abortions.

1981
Minnesota senate approves parental notification bill and judge stays it.

1987
Fetus burial or cremation ordinance passes in Minnesota. It requires hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities to provide a “dignified and sanitary disposition” of fetal remains from abortion or miscarriage by  cremation or burial.

1989
108 Minnesota lawmakers petition the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The petition was circulated by Sen. Florian Chmielewski (DFL-Sturgeon Lake) and Rep. Steve Wenzel (DFL-Little Falls), saying life begins at conception and right-to-life protection needs to be given to preborn babies.

1990
The Choice Campaign Corps is introduced in the 1990 election to bring pro-life issues to voters in order to change Minnesota voting patterns. Only two out of ten Minnesota Congressmen vote in favor of pro-choice policies despite the fact that a survey deemed the state is majority pro-choice.

1991
Rust vs. Sullivan Supreme Court decision prohibits employees in federally funded clinics from counseling patients seeking abortion.

1992 
By a 5-4 ruling the U.S. Supreme Court refined and limited Roe vs. Wade in Planned Parenthood vs. Casey decision. The court let stand four Pennsylvania laws designed to curb abortion rights: Informed consent, reporting requirements, parental consent, and 24-hour waiting period. They ruled against spousal notification as an undue burden because of potential abuse by husbands.

1995
Minnesota Senate adds 24-hour abortion waiting period to a welfare bill that offers to subsidize child care costs for low-income families so they can return to work. Planned Parenthood moves its Minneapolis location to Uptown (as of 2018, the clinic was seeing 13,000 patients). Hennepin County court allows medical assistance benefits for abortions.

1998
A Minnesota bill passes that requires providers to collect detailed information about abortion patients. This information is used to produce a public Minnesota Department of Health report.

2003
Minnesota requires a mandatory scripted counseling session, before a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, in a law designed to discourage abortion.

Photo by Lorie Shaull