1973 January 22

A Constitutional Right to an Abortion: “Roe v. Wade”

 

In Roe v. Wade, decided on this day, the Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 that women had a constitutional right to abortion based on the right to privacy, established in the Griswold v. Connecticut decision (June 7, 1965), and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court established a trimester framework, with the interests of the government in regulating abortion rising in the second and third trimesters.The decision was undoubtedly the most controversial Supreme Court decision in the post-World War II era.

The Roe decision spurred the emergence of a powerful anti-abortion movement that transformed American politics. As states passed laws seeking to limit abortion, the Court ruled on a number of important abortion cases over the next forty years. See especially Planned Parenthood v. Casey, decided on June 29, 1992, in which the Court upheld the basic holding in Roe.

Justice Blackmun for the Court: “We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not unqualified, and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.”

Read the full decision for yourself: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1971/1971_70_18

Read: N. E. H. Hull and Peter Charles Hoffer, The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History (2010)

Read about abortion in America before Roe: Linda Greenhouse and Riva Siegel, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling (2010)

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!