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Massachusetts v. Bangs


Although Bangs got off on a technicality, the severity of the charges showed that public attitudes were becoming more restrictive. During the nineteenth century, a few states began to declare abortion illegal after the fourth month of pregnancy--for example, Connecticut (1821), Missouri (1827), and Illinois (1827). In 1840, 10 of the 26 states had placed restrictions on abortions. In 1965, the laws in all 50 states prohibited abortion, restricting its use to life-threatening situations.

In some states, legislators modified these laws to make exceptions for rape, incest, or fetal deformity. In 1973, the battle to remove all restrictions on abortion resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark Roe v. Wade ruling, invalidating all state laws that prohibited abortion during the first 12 weeks after conception.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1637 to 1832Massachusetts v. Bangs - Significance, Impact, Further Readings