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Overturning Roe Will Put U.S. Even Further Behind on Women’s Rights

The country that once led the way on gender equality now moves in the opposite direction.
Activists in Washington during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization on Dec. 1.

Activists in Washington during oral arguments in Dobbs v. Jackson Womens Health Organization on Dec. 1.

Photographer: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images
Corrected

When the U.S. Supreme Court first legalized abortion in 1973, the country was a global leader on reproductive rights. The women’s liberation movement and a growing outcry over deaths from unsafe procedures led a handful of countries, including the U.S., to liberalize their laws or legalize the procedure for the first time.

The U.K. had passed its Abortion Act in 1967, which at the time allowed women to terminate pregnancies up to 28 weeks. In 1972, East Germany made abortion free, up to 12 weeks. Then came the U.S. with its landmark Roe v. Wade ruling establishing a constitutional right to an abortion. Canada wouldn’t decriminalize the procedure for another 15 years.