Roe v. Wade: Still Generating Controversy Almost Forty Years Later


Abortion has become a hot topic during the 2012 presidential election, invoking strong words from both sides of the aisle. Therefore, it seems pertinent to go back and take a look at how the Supreme Court viewed the issued when it issued its landmark ruling in Roe. v. Wade.

 The Facts of the Case 

The constitutional abortion challenge was filed on behalf of Norma L. McCorvey (“Jane Roe”). The pregnant woman claimed the Texas criminal statute banning all abortions, except for those needed to save the life of the mother, violated her constitutional rights.

Roe specifically alleged that she wished to terminate her pregnancy by an abortion “performed by a competent, licensed physician, under safe, clinical conditions,” but that she was unable to get a “legal” abortion in Texas because her life did not appear to be threatened by the continuation of her pregnancy. In addition, she could not afford to travel to another jurisdiction in order to secure a legal abortion under safe conditions.

The lawsuit alleged that the Texas abortion statutes were unconstitutionally vague and that they violated a woman’s right of personal privacy, protected by the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Roe purported to sue “on behalf of herself and all other women” similarly situated.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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