Roe v. Wade
Roe v. Wade is court case of 1973 in which the Supreme Court ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy. Before the Court's ruling, a majority of states prohibited abortion but most allowed an exception when pregnancy threatened the woman's life. The Court overturned these state bans in Roe v. Wade. The Court ruled that states could restrict abortions only during the final three months of pregnancy. The decision was strongly endorsed by many women's rights groups. However, it was fiercely opposed by many others of whom said that life begins at conception.
In the United States abortion was decided by the states rather than with the federal government. Until the second half of the 19th century most states chose not to restrict abortion. However, by the end of the 19th century, the majority of states had adopted statutes that made it a crime to either perform an abortion. Except to save the life of a pregnant woman. Most of these 19th century statutes were still in effect in 1970. When Norma McCorvey, a pregnant woman from Dallas first challenged the state of a Texas abortion law. Using the name "Jane Roe," McCorvey sued Dallas County district attorney Henry Wade to be allowed to have an abortion. The Texas law banned abortions in that state, except when the pregnancy threatened the life of the pregnant woman. Roe's pregnancy did not threaten her lif. She was a poor, single woman and she did not want to have a child she could not afford to raise.
Roe and her attorneys asked the federal district court to declare that the Texas abortion statute violated her rights under the Constitution. They also asked the court to forbid the district attorney from prosecuting anyone else under the Texas abortion law in the future. Texas ruled in favor of Roe on the grounds that the law violated her constitutional rights to privacy. The court ruled that the 9th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the Constitution guaranteed privacy rights that were broad enough to protect a woman's choice to have an abortion because the district court refused to forbid future prosecutions for abortion. Roe and her attorneys appealed to the US Supreme Court. Wade also appealed the decision.
The Supreme Court heard arguments for Roe v. Wade in December 1971. After the justices intensely debated the issues, Chief Justice Warren Burger recommended that the case be reargued, stating, "These cases are not as...