Women's History Month: Women's Health Issues in the US

These are the facts as they have happened. I am neither advocating nor criticizing the following policies.

The modern day women's health debate really begins in the 1960s and 70s, during the Women's Liberation Movement. During these decades the advent of birth control, the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment and Title XI, and the legalization of abortion gave women empowerment that they had never known before.

1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the first U.S. birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. Although the clinic is shut down ten days later and Sanger is arrested, she eventually wins support through the courts and opens another clinic in New York City in 1923.
1921 – Margaret Sanger founds the America Birth Control League, which evolves in the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in 1942.

1936 – The federal law prohibiting the dissemination of contraceptive information through the mail is modified and birth control information is no longer classified as obscene. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, birth control advocates are engaged in numerous legal suits.

1960 – The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves birth control pills.

1965 – In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court strikes down the one remaining state law prohibiting the use of contraceptives by married couples.

1972 – In Eisenstadt v. Baird the Supreme Court rules that the right to privacy includes an unmarried person’s right to use contraceptives.

1973 – As a result of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court establishes a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, overriding the anti-abortion laws of many states.

1992 – In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court reaffirms the validity of woman’s right to abortion under Roe v. Wade. The case successfully challenges Pennsylvania’s 1989 Abortion Control Act, which sought to reinstate the restrictions previously ruled unconstitutional.

2000 - The Equal Employment Opportunity Commision ruled that companies that provided insurance for prescription drugs to their employees but excluded birth control were violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
2006 – The Supreme Court up hold the ban on the “partial birth” abortion procedure. The ruling, 5-4, which upholds the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act, a federal law passed in 2003, is the first to ban a specific type of abortion procedure. Writing the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy said, “The act expresses respect for the dignity of human life.” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissents, called the decision “alarming” and said it was “so at odds with our jurisprudence” that it “should not have staying power.” 

2010 - President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on March 23. As of August 1, 2011, contraception was added to a list of preventive services covered by the ACA that would be provided without a patient co-payment. The federal mandate applies to new health insurance plans in all state from August 1, 2012. The Gutmaccher Institute noted that even before the federal mandate was implemented, 28 states has their own mandates the required health insurance to cover the prescription contraceptives, but the federal mandate innovated by forbidding insurance companies from charging part of the cost to the patient.


  1. I really like these Women's History Month posts. :)

  2. Absolutely fabulous post! Really enjoyed reading this :)

    Diary of a Debutante

  3. 1965.. that's so crazy that there was a law about this!!


  4. Loving your women's history month posts. I didn't know a lot of these... It's so sad how far we've come, yet we have so far to go!

  5. I love these history posts. As an attorney who isn't even in the US I can tell you Roe v Wade is used as persuasive argument all over the world. Love the information in this post!