Roe v Wade

Roe V Wade was a monumental decision by the US Supreme Court in 1973 that ruled that a pregnant woman had the liberty to choose whether or not she wanted to have an abortion, and that this freedom was protected under the Constitution of the United States. The decision drew a line down the United States, causing many to side with either pro-life or pro-choice movements, and launching countless debates about the freedom of women and the freedom of religion.

Roe V Wade had a tremendous effect on the United States:

  • It nullified many existing federal and state abortion laws
  • It prompted national debate about what conditions an abortion should be allowed in
  • It prompted national debate about who could decide the legality of abortion
  • It prompted national debate about what methods the Supreme Court was able to use in constitutional adjudication
  • It prompted national debate about the role or religion and moral views in politics.

Roe V Wade began when Norma McCorvey (who was given the alias Jane Roe to protect her during the proceedings) wanted an abortion after becoming pregnant with a third child. The state laws of Texas denied an abortion unless there was a danger to the mother’s life, so McCorvey challenged these laws. Henry Wade was the opposing Texas attorney-general involved in the case.

There were several decisions and appeals but eventually McCorvey’s case was put before the United States Supreme Court, and the Texas abortion law was ruled unconstitutional by a 7-2 majority in 1973. The decision was made after the Supreme Court Justices ruled that the Constitution outlines a right to privacy, and that privacy should extend to the ability to procure a safe and legal abortion.