The Supreme Court upheld a “gag rule” that imposed restrictions on abortion counseling in federally funded birth control clinics.
The Public Health Service Act of 1970 specified that no federal funds could be used to support abortion services as a form of family planning. In 1988 the Secretary of Health and Human Services issued three new regulations for the use of funds under the program: First, funded clinics were prohibited from recommending or encouraging abortions; second, clinics were prohibited from giving a pregnant woman any information about where to obtain an abortion; and third, clinics were required to provide pregnant women with a list of “providers that promote the welfare of the mother and the unborn child.” The clinics argued that the regulations were not authorized by Congress, that they violated the freedom of speech rights of the personnel in the clinics, and that they interfered with the right of a woman to obtain an abortion, as established under Roe v. Wade (1973).
By a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court upheld the regulations. Speaking for the majority, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist
The Rust decision demonstrated that the Court was increasingly willing to accept major restrictions on the right to abortions. In addition, Rehnquist’s discussion of governmental conditions for the use of public funds was relevant to a large number of controversial programs.
Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health
Brandenburg v. Ohio
Harris v. McRae
Privacy, right to
Roe v. Wade
Speech and press, freedom of