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Roe V. Wade – a Landmark Case Impacting Abortion Laws

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The argument about whether to call abortion right or wrong is very complicated in the means of when the fetus is considered a person, scientifically. The Supreme Court case of Roe v. Wade, was a landmark decision proving that a state law that banned abortions, except when the mother’s life is in danger, was unconstitutional. Abortion remains one of the most challenging and provocative conceptions of the up-to-date society since it does tackle how far the 14th Amendment can be applied to one’s own body.

Life when abortion was still a criminal act still contained massive numbers of women resisted the law. In the 1950s and ’60s, just before the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, medical and law enforcement experts estimated that between 1 and 2 million girls and women every year had obscure abortions. In order for women to stop having unsafe abortions that could put their lives at risk, as well as a personal story aiding her legendary journey to help these women with the same lives and others would start with Norma McCorvey (or known as Jane Roe for this case). Although it is important to get the legal information that was present before the case to paint the picture of what women had to live with back then. The legal position prior to Roe v. Wade was that abortion was illegal in 30 states and legal under certain circumstances in 20 states. Different trimesters and different circumstances such as rape, incest, disability, the fact that it could threaten the life of the mother, etc, were put into consideration. Physicians remained the loudest voice in the anti-abortion debate, and they carried their anti-feminist agenda to state legislatures around the country, advocating not only anti-abortion laws, but also laws against birth control. Jane Roe was the lead accuser of the whole abortion rights movement. Because of the time it took for the case to make its way through the courts, the decision did not come in time for Norma McCorvey to have an abortion. She gave birth to her child, whom she put up for adoption. The case began in 1970 when Jane Roe initiated federal action against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas county, Texas, where Roe lived.

The Court went with their decision with a dominant part vote of 7 to 2 for Roe on January 22, 1973. The question of whether a woman truly had her right to privacy came up for the majority’s decision and further questioned the uniqueness of the Constitution and which right were applied. The Fourteenth Amendment was used by the justices to answer this question, which prohibits states from “depriving] any person of … liberty … without due process of law,” protected a fundamental right to privacy. The justices concluded “the word ‘person’, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn”. The right of a woman to have an abortion fell inside this major right to privacy, and was ensured by the Constitution. In Justice Rehnquist’s dissenting opinion, he argued that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment did not intend for it to protect a right of privacy, a right which they did not recognize, and that they definitely did not intend for it to protect a woman’s decision to have an abortion. Further argued that the only right to privacy is that which is protected by the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures. Concluded that because this issue required a careful balance of the interests of the woman against the interests of the state, it was not an appropriate decision for the Court to make, but instead was a question that should have been left up to state legislatures to resolve.

The majority of the justices maintained that a right to privacy was implied by the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. No state could restrict abortions during the first three months, or trimester, of a pregnancy. States were permitted to adopt restrictive laws in accordance with respecting the mother’s health during the second trimester. The practice could be banned outright during the third trimester. Any state law that conflicted with this ruling was automatically overturned. Many fundamentalist Protestant ministers joined the outcry. The National Right to Life Committee formed with the explicit goal of reversing Roe v. Wade. Anti-abortionists would send out advertisements and flyers such as these to discourage women to receive abortions by their doctors. The Hyde Amendment of 1976 prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds to be used for abortions. Later Court decisions such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992) have upheld the right of states to impose waiting periods and parental notification requirements. Explain Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Planned Parenthood clinics have become local battlegrounds over the abortion controversy. Since Planned Parenthood prides itself in providing safe, inexpensive abortions, protesters regularly picket outside their offices.

In the U.S, abortion is legal in all states, and each state has to have one abortion clinic at the least. Although, individual states can limit the use of abortion or create ‘trigger laws’, which would make abortion illegal within the first and second trimesters if Roe were overturned by the US Supreme Court. Abortion is legal but may be restricted by the states to varying degrees. States have passed laws to restrict late term abortions, require parental notification for minors, and mandate the disclosure of abortion risk information to patients prior to the procedure. In the case of rape or incest, forcing a woman who becomes pregnant by this violent act to finish the pregnancy and give birth could cause further psychological harm to the victim, but an abortion could help relieve the psychological harm. The American Psychological Association found that stress was greatest prior to the abortion, and for most women educated in the procedure there was little evidence of post-abortion syndrome. Implications of this law include to physical, psychological, and social implications. It would give jurisdiction back to the states, each of which would be able to decide whether or not to allow abortion within its borders. If women couldn’t have abortions so easily, governments would have to invest more money in supporting mothers. 

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Roe V. Wade – A Landmark Case Impacting Abortion Laws. (2021, October 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/roe-v-wade-a-landmark-case-impacting-abortion-laws/
“Roe V. Wade – A Landmark Case Impacting Abortion Laws.” GradesFixer, 25 Oct. 2021, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/roe-v-wade-a-landmark-case-impacting-abortion-laws/
Roe V. Wade – A Landmark Case Impacting Abortion Laws. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/roe-v-wade-a-landmark-case-impacting-abortion-laws/> [Accessed 29 Nov. 2021].
Roe V. Wade – A Landmark Case Impacting Abortion Laws [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Oct 25 [cited 2021 Nov 29]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/roe-v-wade-a-landmark-case-impacting-abortion-laws/
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