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Efforts to Pass a Federal Abortion Ban - Timeline


1995-1996
- The U.S. Congress passes the first nationwide ban on abortion, which is vetoed by President Clinton. 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 President Clinton again vetoes.

1998 - The House once again overrides the President's veto and the Senate sustains the President's action.

1999-2000 - The Senate and House both pass the legislation, but the two bills are not sent to conference committee and are never finally enacted.

June 2000 - The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Nebraska abortion ban modeled on the original federal ban. The case, Stenberg v. Carhart, is successfully argued by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

2002 - A new abortion ban – one that does not attempt to remedy the flaws in the law found unconstitutional in Stenberg v. Carhart – passes in the House of Representatives.

2003 - Congress passes and President George W. Bush signs the first federal law banning abortions. The Center for Reproductive Rights immediately challenges the ban in the same federal court and before the same judge who heard the Center's earlier suit against the Nebraska law. Judge Richard Kopf immediately blocks enforcement of the federal law in order to protect doctors' rights and women’s health while the case proceeds.

2003-2004 – The Center for Reproductive Rights, American Civil Liberties Union, National Abortion Federation and Planned Parenthood of America challenge the Federal Abortion Ban in three separate cases. All trial and appellate courts declare the law unconstitutional.

2006 - The Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood argue their cases – Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood – before the Supreme Court.

2007 - Supreme Court rules to uphold the Federal Abortion Ban