As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to hear its first abortion case in nearly a decade, both sides have been quietly gathering vivid personal accounts from women to supplement the dry legal arguments, believing the effort could appeal particularly to swing-vote Justice Anthony Kennedy.
The case, which arises from a challenge to new Texas regulations covering clinics and physicians that perform abortions, could have broad political repercussions in a presidential election year. Depending how the nine justices rule, the court could embolden -- or discourage -- other states in imposing regulations affecting women's access to abortion.
A ruling in the dispute over the socially and politically contentious issue of abortion rights is expected by late June.
Some opponents of abortion are seizing on past comments by Kennedy, who has said that some women come to "regret" the procedure and, while affirming a right to abortion, has voted for certain regulations governing the procedure. Seeking to bolster the argument for Texas's strict requirements, they are signing up women who say they suffered medical complications.
The group of health clinics challenging the state, meanwhile, is trying to counter any perception of abortion as an option used only by the young and inexperienced.
Taking a page from the successful approach of gay-marriage proponents, they have sought lawyers and other professional women who say abortions helped them for economic, medical or other reasons. They hope the vignettes from lawyers will help justices identify with their view.