In the 1989 case Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the US Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a Missouri law regulating abortion care. The Missouri law prohibited the use of public facilities, employees, or funds to provide abortion counseling or services. The law also placed restrictions on physicians who provided abortions. A group of physicians affected by the law challenged the constitutionality of certain sections of it. The US federal district court that first heard the case ruled many of the challenged sections of the law unconstitutional. The Missouri attorney general then appealed the case to an US federal appeals court and eventually to the US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. In a five to four decision, the US Supreme Court overturned the decisions of the lower federal courts, ruling that it was constitutional to prohibit public funds, facilities, and employees from providing abortion care. In doing so, the Supreme Court upheld a state law that limited women’s access to abortions and established a precedent that states could apply restrictions to abortion care.
In the 1973 court case Doe v. Bolton, the US Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., ruled that a Georgia law regulating abortion was unconstitutional. The Georgia abortion law required women seeking abortions to get approval for the procedure from their personal physician, two consulting physicians, and from a committee at the admitting hospital. Furthermore, under the statutes, only women who had been raped, whose lives were in danger from the pregnancy, or who were carrying fetuses likely to be seriously, permanently malformed were permitted to receive abortions. The US Supreme Court ruled that the Georgia requirements violated the right to privacy implicit in the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution. Decided on the same day as the abortion case Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton expanded women’s access to abortion by striking down laws that restricted the reasons for which women could receive abortions.
On 1 July 1976, the US Supreme Court decided in the case Planned Parenthood v. Danforth that provisions of a Missouri law regulating abortion care were unconstitutional. That law, House Bill 1211, restricted abortion care by requiring written consent for each abortion procedure from the pregnant woman as written consent of the woman’s husband if she was married, or the written consent of her parents if she was unmarried and younger than eighteen. House Bill 1211 also required that physicians make efforts to preserve the lives of aborted fetuses. Following the passage of House Bill 1211 in 1974, two physicians and Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri challenged the law. Following the decisions by several lower courts, the US Supreme Court ruled on the case. The US Supreme Court struck down parts of a law that violated the US Constitution and the prior court case Roe v. Wade, and in doing so, they expanded access to abortion care in the US.