Roe v. Wade-The Basics

April 27th, 2021

Hello, and welcome back to another week at the Supreme Court. This week we are going over the basics of a case that has long been in the public eye for discussion and what it means. Roe v. Wade follows a woman under the alias of Jane Roe, to protect her identity, suing a district attorney in Dallas, Texas on the basis that a Texas law banning all abortion unless the woman’s life is in danger. This challenge to the Texas law came on the grounds of personal privacy guaranteed by First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth amendments, as to whether or not a woman has the choice to terminate their own pregnancy.

The Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 opinion to side with Jane Roe. What that meant is that the Due Process Clause (prohibits depriving citizens of life, liberty, or property by the government) of the 14th amendment protects a woman’s right to her own privacy. The court said in its opinion that the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the “potentiality of human life”, however this has varying weight over the course of a pregnancy that the court says must be considered. In the first trimester, the government has no say over the decision to abort a pregnancy, which is left to the woman and her physician. The second trimester allows for the government to interfere only on the grounds of protecting the mother’s health and the third the government can prohibit it unless it is necessary to save the mothers life.

Roe v. Wade continues to be hotly discussed topic in American politics. Even today, the Supreme Court continues to hear cases on the topic that change the shape of abortion in the United States. That is all this week, see you guys next week to check in on some cases from earlier this semester!

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