APUS Court Cases: Roe v Wade | Roe V. Wade | Abortion

Volume 1, Issue 1

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April 2, 2006

ROE V. WADE, 1973
Abortion
Pro-Life or Pro-Choice?
by Caitlin Riopelle

W e d d i n g t o n
T h e
b y B a r b a r a

v.

F l o w e r s
A major component in her argument was her defense of women who were left pregnant as the result of rape or incest, both of which were not exceptions to the Texas laws. Representing defendant Henry Wade in this argument was Robert C. Flowers. He argued that Texas wished to protect fetuses and embryos and allow the unborn children “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.” In response to Weddington, he stated that actual birth and contraceptives were less risky that abortions. In a final attempt to salvage his case, he
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A r g u m e n t
R a d u l e s c u

A fetus
http://www.zavaj.com/pictures/ nature/embryo/

The argument over abortion has rapidly progressed into a national debate of legal issues and moral values. Even with such a growing sensitivity to the issue, many are still uninformed as to what abortion actually is. An abortion is when an embryo or fetus in a womb is terminated. This can refer to a miscarriage or a purposely induced termination. It is the knowledgeable killing of the embryo or fetus that is currently under debate. Abortions that are deliberately caused fall into one of the following categories: therapeutic or elective abortion. Therapeutic abortion is most commonly used to save the life of the mother, to preserve her physical or mental health, or in cases of rape or incest. Those abortions that are performed for any other reason are considered elective. While both of these types of abortion come under fire from the public, many people are only against elective abortion.

Representing plaintiff Jane Roe, 26-year-old Sarah Weddington spoke out against the Texas anti-abortion laws. She assertively and eloquently defended a woman's choice in being a mother. She not only spoke for her client but for all the women in Texas who were seemingly oppressed by the anti-abortion laws. Women would often be forced to drop out of schools if found pregnant and suffered further social problems. She argued that an abortion carried less risk than contraceptives and that women should not be obligated to use them in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

Abortion protest

http://www.juneauempire.com/ AbortionAntLR.jpg

B e f o r e
T h e S t o r y

t h e
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C a s e
C o n t r o v e r s y

B e h i n d

by Elizabeth Hardy

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The controversial case of Roe v. Wade took place in 1974. But what happened before the court rulings occurred? The events leading to the case actually began about four years before. The center player of the controversy, known in court as Jane Roe for anonymity, was a woman named Norma McCorvey. The Louisiana-born McCorvey was pregnant at age twenty-three. During this time the woman was living in Texas. The state had established strict antiabortion laws, which only allowed the procedure to be done in extreme cases. The legislation stated that abortions were illegal unless the medical well-being of the prospective mother was in jeopardy. The issue, however, was that McCorvey had, at the time, claimed she was raped. This

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Aftermath
The Court’s Decision
by Angelique Crest

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led to the argument of whether or not the abortion procedure could be used legally. When the argument was examined further, the Texas law was put into question. It was then accused of being unconstitutional towards the rights of women. What’s more, the law was accused of going against the “right of privacy” ruling of the 1965 case, Griswold v. Connecticut.

Sarah Weddington
http://www.wired.com/news mediaplayer/roevwade_1971C00.html

Amendments
The Right of Privacy
by Briana Hattabaugh

In the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, Jane Roe and her attorneys went to court claiming that the Texas laws, which did not allow Roe to have an abortion, were unconstitutional. Roe and her attorneys claimed that her constitutional right to privacy was violated due to the restrictions of the state law. Traces of support for the right of an individual’s privacy were found in the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 14th Amendments of the Constitution, of which Roe was able to support her argument and win the case.

argued that the father of the child should have a say in the matter. Flowers spoke in an The Supreme Court issued its decision on January 22, 1973, with a 7 to 2 majority voting to strike down unassertive manner in contrast Texas’s abortion laws. State laws outlawing abortion to Weddington, and didn’t have were set aside by the Court, permitting abortions throughout pregnancy. The opinion of the Court, written many reasons for his support of the Texas anti-abortion laws. by Justice Harry Blackmun, stated that the word “person” in the Constitution “does not include the unborn.” The court found support for a constitutional right The Constitutional Question of privacy in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and FourRight or Wrong teenth Amendments, and decided that this “right of priby Kathy Larson vacy” was “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether to terminate her pregnancy.” Justices Byron R. White and William H. Rehnquist wrote dissenting opinions in the Roe v. Wade case. Justice White stated that he “found nothing in the language Two Choices or history of the Constituhttp://www.msu.edu/ tion to support the Court’s judgment” and The that he could not agree constitutional issue questioned with the majority of other in the Roe v. Wade case was if Constitution Justices in their decision the Constitution permitted a http://www.juris.uqam.ca/images/ because he believed woman to terminate her pregdeuxieme_amendement_2.jpg that the Court valued nancy by abortion within the “the convenience of the first trimester. The justices pregnant mother more than the continued existence concluded that an abortion and development of the life or potential life that she was a personal and private decarries.” Justice Rehnquist elaborated on White’s discision for a woman to make. senting opinion by saying, “To reach its result the Court Although the outcome of the necessarily has had to find within the scope of the Fourcase resolved several issues, teenth Amendment a right that was apparently comabortion will continue to be a pletely unknown to the drafters of the Amendment.” personal and difficult decision Both Justices represented the minority opinion regardand action that will always be ing the Court’s decision concerning the landmark Roe v. considered controversial. Wade Court case.
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Feeling that the fetus is a human being with the right to live, these people have been labeled as pro-life. Those who are pro-choice, however, believe that women have the right to decide what to do with their own bodies. Some merely feel that restrictions should be placed on abortion. Such people think that therapeutic abortion, rather than elective, should be allowed. Due to the fact that morals seem to cling tightly to this topic, people often become fierce in their opinion. Feeling that the mothers consenting to elective abortions are murderers, extreme pro-lifers hold mass protests and use shock factors, such as pictures of botched abortions, to gain support. Those who are pro-choice conduct protests as well, and fight for the rights of women. It was the case of Roe vs. Wade that add much fuel to these debates. In the case of Roe vs. Wade, elective abortion was made legal in the first trimester and limited in the second. Many rejoiced over the verdict of this case while others redoubled their efforts to overturn it. Even though the court case was a landmark decision in the history of abortion, the debate still lingers.

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