Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988

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The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988,100 P.L. 259; 102 Stat. 28, is a United States law that addresses the applicability of federal non-discrimination laws to corporations or institutions.

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance. The Department of Education implemented Title IX with the view that if any part of a school received federal aid, the entire school was subject to Title IX. So, it required all colleges to submit an "Assurance of Compliance" in order for the school's students to be eligible to receive Basic Educational Opportunity Grants (BEOG). At least one school, Grove City College, decided to preserve its independence by refusing all federal grants and refusing to submit an "Assurance of Compliance." A lawsuit resulted when the federal government then refused to provide BEOGs to its students. In Grove City College v. Bell, 465 U.S. 555 (1984), the Supreme Court held that only the financial aid office of college would be subject to Title IX if the students received BEOGs.

Civil rights advocates then sought new legislation to overturn the Grove City case. However, the long-standing coalition supporting civil rights split over the abortion issue. The law amended Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to add a provision that if any part of a local government agency, corporation, plant or institution receives federal assistance, the entire local government agency, corporation, plant or institution is subject to these laws. In 1988, Senator John Danforth added provisions to the bill on the abortion issue that secured its passage through Congress. However, President Ronald Reagan vetoed the bill. The Congress overrode the President's veto by a 73-24 vote in the Senate and a 292-133 vote in the House, so the bill became law.

Regarding abortion, the law provides:

Nothing in this title shall be construed to require or prohibit any person, or public or private entity, to provide or pay for any benefit or service, including the use of facilities, related to an abortion. Nothing in this section shall be construed to permit a penalty to be imposed on any person or individual because such person or individual is seeking or has received any benefit or service related to a legal abortion.[1]


  1. 20 U.S.C. § 1688.

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