The Role of The American Women’s Health Movement and Roe V. Wade Case in Modern Day Women’s Fight for Reproductive Rights

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1672 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Words: 1672|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Mar 18, 2021

Table of contents

  1. Identification and Evaluation of sources
  2. Investigation
  3. Reflection
  4. Bibliography

Identification and Evaluation of sources

This investigation will explore the question, To what extent has the American Women’s Health movement in the 20th century help modern day woman in their fight for reproductive rights? The 1960s to the 1970s will be the main focus in this investigation, to show how women fought for their rights and how the movement progressed throughout the years.

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The first source that will be evaluated is the Roe v. Wade supreme court case, which was argued in December 13, 1971 and was decided in January 22, 1973. The origins of this source is valuable because the court decided in favor of Roe, during a time where abortion was criminalized. A further value this source is it offers insight into personal view and opinions. The official court case document shares all of the details that went on during the case. It offers a perspective of those involved in coming to a decision as well as Roe. The purpose of this source is to come to a decision on legalizing abortion, which gives it value because it offers insight into emotional responses. However the court case is limited because it contains bias. The bias view of the Supreme Court, which could have swayed opinions of those who helped come to a decision.

The second source that will be evaluated is March on ladies. March on ladies is an article written by Nora Drake and was published in January of 2017. The purpose of this source is valuable because it provides accurate statistics. It shows the success of Women’s Marches that happened in 2017. However the origins of this source is limited because it was not written in place where the marches took place so access to information is limited. Nora Drake did not have a first had experience is participating in these marches. A further limitation the original add is it was written by a non-specialist. However this source provides is offers insight into personal views and opinions of the many women involved.


The women’s health movement played a major role in the progression of women’s right to make decisions regarding their own health. The Women’s health movement or WHM emerged during the 1960s and 1970s. The Women’s health movement goal was to legalize abortion and improve health for women. Health and medical providers coordinated a country wide effort to legalize abortion. This essay investigates to what extent has the Americans Women’s Health movement in the 20th century help modern day women in their fight for reproductive rights. Then the role of the Roe v Wade case, and the effect of the dozens of women controlled health centers that were used as alternatives to conventional delivery of health, medical care, and women health advocacy projects.

The Roe v Wade case played an important role in decriminalizing abortion. The United States Supreme Court issued the Roe v Wade case because of the laws in place that restricted access to abortions and criminalize it. Jane Roe v Henry Wade was argued on December 13,1973 and the decision was on January 22,1973. The United States Supreme Court made a decision in favor of Norma McCorvey, also known as Jane Roe (Roe v Wade). Roe claimed that the Texas statues were extremely and unlawfully vague. It stripped her from her right to have personal privacy. A right that is supposed to be protected by our amendments.

The First, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Jane Roe made a decision to sue as it was her obligation “on behalf of herself and all other women” (Roe v Wade). In doing this Roe was not only fighting to reclaim her own reproductive rights but for all of the other woman everywhere as well. She was fighting and speaking up for those who couldn’t or felt as if they couldn’t do it for themselves. Many groups led by women argued that the illegalities surrounding abortions influenced so many women to seek out black market abortions by unlicensed physicians, which is extremely risky. Others also felt trapped and they had no other choice they performed abortions on themselves. The court being in Roe’s favor meant no state was allowed to restrict a women from having an abortion during the first three months of a pregnancy.

The Roe v Wade case will go on to be one of the most essential parts in the women’s health movement. Allowing for women to gain the reproductive rights they’ve been fighting hard for. As an alternative to the conventional delivery of health and med care dozens of women-controlled health centers were created and put in place. The first to open a women’s health center were Carol Downer and Lorraine in Los Angeles, California. They offered self-help groups for women in the community (Women’s Health Specialist). Carol Downer was eventually arrested when word of the clinic traveled. The police had raided the clinic and charged Carol with practicing medicine without a license. Although Carol was arrested and the clinic was shut down, the fight did not stop there. This is where the effects of the Roe v Wade case take part in the fight for women’s reproductive rights. According to Women’s Health Specialist after the Supreme Court handed down the decision legalizing aborting, it opened up numerous new opportunities for women.

Activist, housewives and women from all types of jobs and backgrounds took part in hiring doctors to perform abortions. They started creating woman-centered abortion care, and even promoted and pushed after medical techniques that would go on to raise the bar for standard abortion care nationally. If it weren’t for Norma McCorvey taking a major leap for reproductive rights the fight might have been a lot harder than it already was and there wouldn’t have been these type of opportunities. These new opportunities allowed many women to have the health and reproductive care they deserve and need. Many took a different approach and decided to carry out a number of women’s health advocacy projects to change public policies. The National organization for Women held their very first conference in Washington, D.C. on October 29,1966. The one to give the speech was Betty Friedan, her speech is known as the “Statement of purpose”. In this speech Friedan spoke about how it time that we confront these issues women have been challenged with. To confront the issues that won’t allow women to feel equal and be equal. Friedan said “The time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity of choice which is their right…”. This was the call to action that many had been waiting for.

Abortion has been internationally recognized and pushed for since the beginning of the 20th century. Women’s marches have also helped pushed the agenda forward. It has been estimated that about 5 Million people from all around the world participated in marches on January 21,2017. They gathered together to show support for women’s rights and participate in the fight for reproductive rights. The purpose of these women’s marches was to send a one major message. The message was that women’s rights are not just that, they are human rights. This message was for the new government and to the world, according to the founders. These advocacy projects allowed for women to inform and educate the public that they deserve basic human rights. The right to make decisions about their health for themselves. In conclusion the Americans Women's health movement in the 20th century played a big role in helping modern women in their fight for reproductive rights. Effects such as the Roe v Wade case on society goes to show such impacts and roles. Providing health care centers allowed for women to practice medicine and provide for themselves. As well as give women proper health care. Not only that but the advocacy projects; advocacy projects is what informed the public of the struggles women were facing and how they plan to change things like public policies. The American Women’s Health movement only strengthened the fight and helped shape what women’s health rights are today.

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This investigation has provided me with a lot of insight into the challenges faced by historians on finding authentic sources of the 20th century Women’s health movement. Compiling primary sources on the Women’s health movement was a challenged for me because, many of the events that happened during that time were second hand accounts of each event. The most valuable primary source I found was the official Roe v Wade court case decision documents. It offered insight into the view of those involved. As well as it was the one source that linked back to each of my paragraphs. A method used by historians that proved to be very useful in my investigation was making sure each sources was valuable and authentic by cross checking my secondary sources. I decided it was best to cross check my secondary sources because they are second hand accounts, information could be lost along the way or even faked. A way of organizing this information and ideas was using and ideas was using an outline. My outline was very useful because it allows me to focus okay each main idea thoroughly. My outline also me focus on resources that actually proved to be useful in my investigation. Overall this investigation has provided me with a lot of insight about what it’s like to be a historian and compiling resources. As well as being knowledgeable on a topic I was very interested in.


  1. Works Cited Drake, Nora. 'March on, ladies.' USA Today, July 2017, p. 22+. General OneFile, 41f3d29.
  2. “FindLaw's United States Supreme Court Case and Opinions.” Findlaw,
  3. Norsigian, J. “The Women's Health Movement in the United States.” Newsletter (Women's Global Network on Reproductive Rights), U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1992,
  4. “Statement of Purpose.” National Organization for Women,
  5. “The Women's Health Movement.” 40 Years,
  6. 'Women and health.' WIN News, Summer 2003, p. 12+. General OneFile, 502e4a6e
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The Role Of The American Women’s Health Movement And Roe V. Wade Case In Modern Day Women’s Fight For Reproductive Rights. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved February 27, 2024, from
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The Role Of The American Women’s Health Movement And Roe V. Wade Case In Modern Day Women’s Fight For Reproductive Rights. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 27 Feb. 2024].
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