The End of the Line
The law is the last result of human wisdom acting upon human experience for the benefit of the public.
The second half of the eighties and the move into the nineties would prove to be yet another uneven period in the history of women's struggle for equality. Six major women's rights cases, or so-called women's rights cases, came before the Court in those years. 1 Not varied in scope, they focused on two growing areas of women's litigation. Three addressed concerns surrounding women's employment, and three addressed women's access to abortion.
The abortion cases all involved laws that in some way sought to hinder women's access to abortion. One such law restricted the use of public medical facilities and their employees in the performance of "nontherapeutic" abortions. 2 Another barred professionals who received federal monies from providing abortion counseling or referrals or from suggesting in any way that abortion was an appropriate method of birth control (commonly referred to as the "gag rule" decision).3 The third required a compulsory presentation on abortion at the medical office, a twenty-four-hour waiting period before having the abortion, and the consent of a parent or judge before a teenager could have an abortion. 4 In each case, the Court upheld the restrictions as constitutional.