Roe v. Wade


On this day in 1973, a historic Supreme Court decision in Roe vv. Wade legalized abortion. Roe v. Wade is a landmark decision by the Supreme Court on the issue of abortion. It was decided simultaneously with a companion case, Doe v. Bolton. The Court ruled 7-2 that a right to privacy under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment extended a woman’s decision to have an abortion, but that this right must be balanced against the state’s two legitimate interests in regulating abortions: protecting women’s health and protecting the potentiality of human life. Arguing that these state interests became stronger over the course of a pregnancy, the Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the third trimester of pregnancy.

Later, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Court rejected Roes trimester framework while affirming its central holding that a woman has a right to abortion until fetal viability. The Roe decision defined “viable” as “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” Justices in Casey acknowledged that viability may occur at 23 or 24 weeks or sometimes even earlier, in light of medical advances.

In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that continues today about issues including whether, and to what extent, abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the U. S. into pro-choice and pro-life camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides. At the bottom of the debate remains the essential point: that a woman be in charge of her own body. (from Wikipedia, and me)