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Abortion laws in U.S. evolved over centuries

Jonathan Parent, PhDLaws governing abortion in America have changed over time, from no laws in Colonial days, when it was considered a medical issue, to the various state restrictions seen today. In the 1820s, states started restricting medicines that women took to induce abortions, mostly out of concern for the women‘s health, and abortion also became a legal matter, says Jonathan Parent, PhD, a political science professor at Le Moyne College in Syracuse who studies the history of abortion law. He traces how such laws developed, explains the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision and notes that public attitudes toward abortion have tended to remain stable for decades.