Forty-two years ago today, attorney Sarah Weddington got a telegram letting her know the US Supreme Court had ruled in favor of a woman's legal right to some, but not all, abortions.
Weddington tweeted the telegram in December:
The Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade said constitutional protections for privacy also protect a woman's right to an abortion. But the ruling set some limits, allowing states to restrict abortions when a fetus can live outside the womb and to protect the mother's health.
The decision remains politically contentious to this day, acting as a touching point in America's culture wars.
Supporters of abortion rights celebrate the landmark ruling as a key moment in women's rights. They've fought in local, state, and federal legislatures to try to ensure the right is safeguarded and abortion clinics remain accessible.
Opponents widely cite the case as an example of extreme judicial overreach. They've fought to restrict access to abortions as much as possible. In the past few years, opponents have been fairly successful: between 2011 and 2013, states enacted 205 abortion restrictions — more than they passed in the previous decade.