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Rust v. Sullivan - Significance, Supreme Court Rejects Challenges To The "gag Rule" On Federally Funded Family Planning Clinics

abortion health petitioners york


Irving Rust, et al.


Louis W. Sullivan, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services

Petitioners' Claim

That federal regulations forbidding family planning clinics from providing their clients with information about abortion violate both the right to freedom of speech and a woman's right to abortion.

Chief Lawyer for Petitioners

Laurence H. Tribe

Chief Lawyer for Respondent

Kenneth W. Starr, U.S. Solicitor General

Justices for the Court

Anthony M. Kennedy, William H. Rehnquist (writing for the Court), Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Harry A. Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, John Paul Stevens


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

23 May 1991


The Supreme Court upheld the new federal regulations.

Related Cases

  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  • Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980).
  • Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983).
  • Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986).
  • Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989).

Further Readings

  • LaMarche, Gara, ed. Speech & Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose? New York, NY: New York University Press, 1996.
  • Reagan. Leslie J. When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1876-1973. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.
  • Yarnold, Barbara M. Abortion Politics in the Federal Courts: Right Versus Right. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1995.
Rutan v. Republican Party of Illinois - Significance, State Workers Challenge The System, Another Blow To Patronage [next] [back] Richmond v. J. A. Croson Co. - Significance, Related Cases, Further Readings

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