• The Fight for Our Lives
    Up Next Laying the Foundation for Protections
  • Laying the Foundation for Protections
    Up Next Laying the Foundation for Protections
    • 1964
    • 1969
  • When Protections Started
    Up Next When Protections Started
    • 1972
    • 1973
    • 1973
    • 1975
    • 1975
    • 1976
    • 1976
    • 1977
    • 1979
  • Silent No More on Reproductive Rights
    Up Next Silent No More on Reproductive Rights
    • 1980
    • 1982
    • 1985
    • 1985
    • 1987
    • 1989
    • 1989
  • Protecting Our Freedom Through Pro-Choice Policies
    Up Next Protecting Our Freedom Through Pro-Choice Policies
    • 1992
    • 1992
    • 1993
    • 1993
    • 1994
    • 1995
    • 1999
  • Fighting to Defend Progress
    Up Next Fighting to Defend Progress
    • 2000
    • 2003
    • 2004
    • 2004
    • 2008
    • 2009
  • The Fight for Reproductive Freedom
    Up Next The Fight for Reproductive Freedom
    • 2013
    • 2013
    • 2015
    • 2016
    • 2016
    • 2016
    • 2016
    • 2016
    • 2017
    • 2017
    • 2018
    • 2018
    • 2019
    • 2019
    • 2019

The Fight for Our Lives


Laying the Foundation for Protections


Association to Repeal Abortion Laws formed

Determined to fight for a country where abortion was legal, Pat Maginnis, Lana Phelan Kahn, and Rowena Gurner, otherwise known as the "Army of Three," joined together to form the historic Association to Repeal Abortion Laws.

Top: Pat Maginnis & Pro-Choice Materials Source: Getty Images
Bottom: Political cartoon by Pat Maginnis Source: patmaginnis.org


NARAL is established

NARAL, first known as the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws, is officially established at the “First National Conference on Abortion Laws: Modification or Repeal” held in Chicago. Lee Gidding is named the first Executive Director of the organization.

Top: NARAL planning meeting
Bottom: Lee Gidding

When Protections Started


Eisenstadt v. Baird

Eisenstadt v. Baird gives unmarried people the right to access contraception. Previously, this was a right only granted to married couples. The case found that denying access to unmarried people was discriminatory and a violation of the constitution's Equal Protection Clause.

William Baird


Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court handed down Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that affirmed abortion as a constitutional right for all. The court held that the fundamental right to privacy extends to a woman's decision whether or not to have an abortion. This marked a new beginning of the fight for women’s equality and autonomy.

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Top: Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) and lawyer Gloria Allred Source: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press
Bottom: CBS News Coverage of Roe v. Wade


NARAL name change

Following Roe v. Wade, NARAL changes its name to the National Abortion Rights Action League to reflect the Supreme Court's successful repeal of restrictive abortion laws.


Karen Mulhauser becomes NARAL's National Executive Director

Karen Mulhauser


First World Conference on Women

Karen Mulhauser represents NARAL at the first UN Conference on the Status of Women in Mexico City — an acknowledgement by the international community that discrimination against women remains a pervasive problem throughout the world.

A general view of the inauguration ceremony of the Conference Source: UN Photo/B Lane


The Hyde Amendment passes

The discriminatory Hyde Amendment passes, barring federal funds from being used to pay for abortion except in case of rape or incest or to save the life of the woman. The amendment turned the right to abortion into a privilege reserved for those who could afford it, leaving behind countless low-income women, and especially women of color.

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Video: A Future Without Hyde


NARAL launches mail campaign to Congress

Efforts by NARAL and other pro-choice organizations generate more pro-choice mail to Congress than ever before in response to the Hyde amendment, which bans federal Medicaid funding for abortion in nearly all cases.

Representative Pat Schroeder addresses abortion rights rally on the Capitol steps Source: Getty Images/Bettmann


NARAL PAC and NARAL Foundation are established

NARAL becomes increasingly involved in political work, establishing a Political Action Committee and adopting the motto "if it does not bring workers to campaigns and voters to the polls, just don’t do it!" In addition, NARAL Foundation is established to provide an educational component to the work of its sister organization.

Source: Credit: Getty Images/Keegan


NARAL testifies in front of Congress

Representing NARAL, Karen Mulhauser testifies in front of Congress against restricting abortion to Medicaid-eligible women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest. Karen shares her own rape experience and discusses her ability to access an abortion — an option not afforded to poor women.


Silent No More on Reproductive Rights


NARAL increases its grassroots organizing

After the 1980 elections resulted in an anti-choice president and the loss of pro-choice senators, NARAL increases its grassroots organizing and targeting in an effort to block anti-choice legislation and the ratification of a so-called "human rights constitutional amendment."


Nanette Falkenberg becomes National Executive Director

Nanette Falkenberg


NARAL launches "Abortion Rights, Silent No More" campaign

NARAL launches the groundbreaking “Abortion Rights, Silent No More” campaign, using the slogan “We are Your Mothers, Your Daughters, Your Sisters, Your Friends, and Abortion is a Choice We Have Made.” The campaign centered women's voices and weaved powerful stories about women's experiences choosing abortion into a political effort to grow support for abortion rights. A collection of 40,000 letters gathered from women in every state are read in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 1985.

Top: "Abortion Rights, Silent No More" campaign pamphlet
Bottom: NARAL members participate in the "Abortion Rights, Silent No More" campaign


Kate Michelman becomes NARAL president

Top: Kate Michelman speaks to activists at a pro-choice rally
Bottom: Kate Michelman at the March for Women's Lives


NARAL Pro-Choice America and other pro-choice organizations are instrumental in defeating President Reagan’s anti-choice Supreme Court nominee, Judge Robert Bork.

Supreme Court Justice nominee Judge Robert Bork testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee Source: Source: John Duricka/Associated Press


NARAL cosponsors March for Women's Lives

NARAL cosponsors the March for Women’s Lives and Mobilize for Women’s Lives in Washington, D.C. The march draws record-breaking crowds protesting restrictive, anti-choice laws.

Three women at the March for Women's Lives


NARAL organizes "Speak Out" rallies nationwide

In response to the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of a Missouri law restricting abortion, NARAL organizes "Speak Out" rallies nationwide encouraging open conversations around reproductive health. The events draw students, celebrities, and activists to the cause.


Protecting Our Freedom Through Pro-Choice Policies


NARAL organizes the March for Women's Lives

Top: NARAL members at the the March for Women's Lives
Bottom: Kate Michelman at the March for Women's Lives Source: C SPAN


Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Planned Parenthood v. Casey upholds the right to access abortion, but scales back the constitutional protections provided by Roe v. Wade.


President Bill Clinton orders reversal of abortion restrictions

On the 20th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Bill Clinton orders the reversal of five discriminatory abortion restrictions left by the Reagan and Bush administrations.


Family and Medical Leave Act

After intense lobbying by NARAL and other women’s groups, Congress passes and President Clinton signs into law the Family and Medical Leave Act.

President Clinton signs the Family and Medical Leave Act into law


The passage of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act

NARAL works towards the passage and celebrates the enactment of the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrance (FACE) Act, which forbids threats, force, or physical obstructions aimed at preventing someone from obtaining reproductive health services.


NARAL helps organize the Women's Rights rally

NARAL helps organize the Women’s Rights rally on October 7, 1995 in New York City to protest the arrival of anti-choice Pope John Paul II.

NARAL members march with Gloria Steinem and Olympia Dukakis


NARAL Foundation launches Choice for America

After receiving the largest grant in its history, the NARAL Foundation launches Choice for America, a multi-year, marketing and mobilization campaign to revitalize the core principles and values underlying the pro-choice position.


Fighting to Defend Progress


Stenberg v. Carhart

The Supreme Court strikes down a Nebraska ban on second-trimester abortions, invalidating similar laws in many other states.


NARAL name change

NARAL changes its name to NARAL Pro-Choice America to coincide with the launch of its largest grassroots mobilization initiative in its history.


NARAL joins the March for Women's Lives

NARAL participates in the March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C. More than a million advocates are present, making the march the largest demonstration in American history up until that point.


Nancy Keenan becomes president of NARAL

Nancy Keenan


NARAL helps elect Barack Obama and 27 new pro-choice members of Congress

The National Journal ranks NARAL Pro-Choice America second among the nation's top 21 political organizations for its impressive win rate among endorsed congressional candidates in hotly contested races.

Top: NARAL volunteers canvass for Obama's election
Video: President Obama Addresses NARAL members


Pres. Barack Obama overturns Global Gag Rule

In the first few days of his presidency, Barack Obama signs several executive orders, including a repeal of the Global Gag Rule banning federal funds to foreign family planning organizations that offer abortions or provide information or counseling on abortion.

Nancy Keenan with President Obama

The Fight for Reproductive Freedom


Ilyse Hogue becomes president of NARAL


NARAL launches Men for Choice

NARAL launches the Men for Choice program, organizing men who stand with women in the shared fight for reproductive freedom. Prominent Men for Choice include Senator Cory Booker, Senator Chris VanHollen, Governor Gavin Newsom, Norman Lear, Tony Goldwyn, David Eigenberg, Matt McGorry, and Moby.

Top: Tony Goldwyn at a Men for Choice event
Video: Be a Man for Choice


NARAL calls for investigation into clinic violence

NARAL urges the United States Department of Justice to direct the FBI to investigate attacks on clinics as domestic terrorism just days before an attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Video: No more domestic terrorism


NARAL endorses Hillary Clinton for president

NARAL endorses Secretary Hillary Clinton for President of the United States ahead of Iowa caucuses.

Top: NARAL members with Hillary Clinton
Video: Hillary Clinton Speaks at NARAL Event on Anniversary of Roe v. Wade


NARAL joins #AskAboutAbortion campaign

NARAL joins the successful #AskAboutAbortion campaign, started by Renee Bracey Sherman, in which over 50,000 Americans and the heads of nine leading grassroots organizations called on debate moderators to ask a question about abortion during the Democratic primary debates. The campaign shines a light on the fact that abortion is not a niche issue. Rather, it’s foundational to a woman’s ability to determine her own destiny.


Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt

In Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, the United States Supreme Court rules that certain clinic closure laws in the state of Texas are unconstitutional. The Court found that these laws create huge obstacles to women seeking reproductive healthcare, making a strong case to strike down similar laws in other states.


NARAL President shares her abortion story at the Democratic National Convention

NARAL President Ilyse Hogue makes history by sharing her abortion story on stage at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. This marked the first time anyone shared a personal abortion story on stage at the Democratic Convention.

Video: Ilyse Hogue at the Democratic National Convention


NARAL pushes for repeal of discriminatory Hyde amendment

NARAL successfully encourages the Democratic National Committee to include a repeal of the discriminatory Hyde Amendment in the party’s platform for the first time.

2016 Democratic National Convention


NARAL sponsors Women's March

NARAL is named a sponsor of the historic Women’s March one day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration. NARAL members participated in the March on Washington and sister marches in states across the country with millions of Americans, marking the largest single-day protest in the history of the United States.

Video: NARAL at the Women's March


NARAL launches "The People's Defense"

Donald Trump nominates Neil Gorsuch to fill a vacancy on the United States Supreme Court following Justice Antonin Scalia’s death. In response, NARAL launches “The People’s Defense,” a massive grassroots campaign to defeat his nomination.

Video: Join the People's Defense


Unite for Justice National Day of Action

NARAL joined MoveOn and other progressive organizations in holding a national day of action to “Unite for Justice” to fight Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Together we demanded that our representatives in Washington act NOW to protect our most fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to abortion guaranteed by Roe v. Wade. With 202 events in all 50 states, the day of action was the largest single-day protest of a Supreme Court nominee in the nation's history.

Video: Will You Unite for Justice to Stop Brett Kavanaugh?


NARAL launches midterm election program

NARAL launches its largest ever midterm election program to advance candidates fighting for “Our Values, Our Future, Our Vote,” spending $5 million to invest in candidates up and down the ballot in 19 states.

Top: NARAL members help elect pro-choice champion Andy Kim (NJ-3)
Video: Look for Us


NARAL launches Reality of Roe campaign

NARAL launches Reality of Roe, a major campaign to educate Americans in all 50 states about the current threat to the legal right to abortion and reproductive freedom in their communities, and to mobilize its more than 2 million members to take action in support of protecting and expanding access. The Reality of Roe campaign works to secure policy victories where opportunities exist — especially as a result of electoral gains at the state level in the 2018 elections — and defends against major legislative threats.

Top: NARAL members celebrate the passage of the Trust Nevada Women Act
Video: Reality of Roe


NARAL organizes a #StopTheBans Day of Action for abortion rights

In protest of dangerous abortion bans being passed throughout the country, NARAL organizes a Day of Action in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Thousands of people throughout the country show up to protect reproductive freedom and rally in support of abortion rights.

Video: We Get Loud. We Organize. We Fight Back.


NARAL celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Video: 50 Years of Action, Power, and Freedom