At the time of the Roe vs. Wade case, abortion was broadly legal in only four states and permitted in 16 others under certain circumstances.
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The country’s highest court has overturned the constitutional right to abortion, allowing individual states to regulate or even ban the procedure more closely.
What does “Roe v. Calf”?
Roe v. Wade is the name of the lawsuit that led to the US Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 decision establishing a constitutional right to abortion in the United States. The majority opinion sees an absolute right to abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Who were Roe and Wade?
Jane Roe was a pseudonym for Norma McCorvey, who was 22 years old, unmarried, unemployed and pregnant for the third time in 1969 when she was seeking an abortion in Texas. When the US Supreme Court ruled in her favor, McCorvey had given birth to a girl who put her up for adoption.
Henry Wade was District Attorney for Dallas County, Texas. It was his job to enforce a state law prohibiting abortion except to save a woman’s life, so he was the person who sued McCorvey when she requested the abortion.
After her death, biographer Joshua Prager said McCorvey made a living speaking and writing books on both sides of the abortion debate and was coached by both sides. She has conflicting feelings about the two of them, he said, but is consistent on one point: supporting first-trimester abortion.
What did the court decide in 1973?
The plaintiff alleged that Texas law was unconstitutionally vague and violated her constitutionally protected right to privacy. The question before the US Supreme Court was: Does the Constitution recognize a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy through abortion?
Judge Harry Blackmun gave the opinion for the 7-2 majority, finding that it was indeed the case – although those protections had to be balanced against the government’s interests in protecting women’s health and “the possibilities of human life”. . The conservative-leaning court said a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of her pregnancy must be left to her and her doctor.
What did the Roe landscape look like before 1973?
At Roe’s time, abortion was broadly legal in only four states and permitted in 16 others under certain circumstances. Constitutional rights trump state laws, so the court’s decision overturned bans in the remaining 30 states. But it allowed states to enact certain regulations to protect women’s health during the second trimester and to take measures to protect fetal life in the third trimester.
How did the latter decisions change abortion rights in America?
Blackmun was still in court in 1992 when Planned Parenthood v. Casey heard a challenge to Pennsylvania’s abortion laws that required a 24-hour waiting period. The conservative-leaning court unexpectedly upheld abortion rights — while making it easier for states to make regulations.
Three conservative justices — Sandra Day O’Connor, Anthony M. Kennedy and David H. Souter — co-authored the court’s main opinion in the 5-4 decision, writing, “A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy before viability is the most central principle of Roe vs. Wade. It is a rule of law and a component of freedom that we cannot do without.”
Neither side on the abortion issue was happy with the verdict. Since then, conservative states have curtailed abortion rights with legislation that led to many more lawsuits, including a recent Texas law banning most abortions after about six weeks.
What’s the new case that brought down Roe?
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. It challenged Mississippi’s abortion ban at 15 weeks.
Upholding this ban would undermine both Roe and Casey, who allow states to regulate, but not ban, abortion until the fetus is viable at about 24 weeks. The decision would likely result in a patchwork of abortion laws, according to the draft, with some states protecting abortion and others outright banning it.
https://www.king5.com/article/news/nation-world/roe-v-wade-explained/507-fc4a750b-47bd-4a94-bc36-0c9cfd9625ac What does Roe vs Wade mean?