This timeline seeks to document major moments in the history of reproductive rights in the United States through the 1980s. The purpose of this timeline is to serve as a tool to better contextualize the struggles and opposition that women fighting for reproductive rights faced from the 1950s to the 1980s, and to paint a picture of the legislative and logistical achievements and setbacks taking place behind the more personal narratives and experiences of women.
“If the right of privacy means anything, it is the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.”
– Justice William Brennan, Eisenstadt v. Baird, 1972
Timeline Works Cited:
“A Timeline of Reproductive Rights.” Woman’s Health Centers, Tampa Bay Abortion Clinics, 2013, www.tampabayabortionclinics.com/resources/abortion-and-politics/a-timeline-of-reproductive-rights/.
Berg, Miriam. “Timeline: 100 Years of Birth Control.” Planned Parenthood Action Fund, 16 July 2014, www.plannedparenthoodaction.org/blog/timeline-100-years-birth-control.
Larson, Jordan. “Timeline: The 200-Year Fight for Abortion Access.” The Cut, 17 Jan. 2017, www.thecut.com/2017/01/timeline-the-200-year-fight-for-abortion-access.html.
“Reproductive Rights Historical Highlights.” National Organization for Women, NOW, 2019, now.org/resource/reproductive-rights-historical-highlights/.
Steinam, Gloria. “The Ultimate Invasion of Privacy.” Jean Kilbourne Papers, Box 45, Feb. 1981.
“Timeline of Important Reproductive Freedom Cases Decided by the Supreme Court.” American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, 2019, www.aclu.org/other/timeline-important-reproductive-freedom-cases-decided-supreme-court.
For a timeline on Reproductive Rights from the 1990s to 2019, see the Conclusion page.