Roe V. Wade: The Issue of Abortion
Abortion is one issue that has polarized a nation and the battle lines were drawn forty years ago with time not easing the tensions between the groups on both sides of this issue. The abortion debate started in the middle of the 1800’s. However, the issue came to a head in 1973 with the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion and the fight has been ongoing ever since. This paper aims to show how the Roe V Wade court case came about and the resulting arguments for and against abortion that ensued.
Norma McCorvey was a young impressionable person who did not have the best of circumstances with regards to her upbringing as well as her early adult life. She had a very difficult childhood and ended up dropping out of school. She took a job with a traveling carnival in an effort to make ends meet. One evening when the show was in Georgia, she was assaulted by a group of men, was raped, and later found that she was pregnant. Norma returned to her hometown of Dallas Texas where during the process of attempting to locate a doctor that would before an abortion she met lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington. At the time abortions, were illegal in the state of Texas and Coffee and Weddington were looking for a plaintiff in a lawsuit that the intended on challenging the state’s ban on abortion in an effort to overturn the abortion laws hopefully setting a precedence for future court decisions regarding this matter.
Norma agreed to cooperate and agreed to act as the lawsuit plaintiff. Eventually, a case was built against the state and the papers were filed suing the district attorney Henry Wade. Coffee and Weddington’s major worry was that McCorvey’s spotty past would be discovered potentially damaging their case. So, they decided to use the pseudonym Jane Roe to conceal her identity and Roe vs Wade took shape on the grounds that the ninth amendment, right to privacy, and fourteenth amendment, equal protection under the law, provided support for a women’s right to have an abortion. As D. J. Herda pointed out in his book Roe V. Wade The Abortion Question, “Texas abortion laws were very vague and the fourteenth was the perfect fit for the lawyer’s argument as it prohibits vaguely written laws and laws that create confusion about who is protected and under want circumstances.” (33). The case went through the court system all the way to the Supreme Court and in the end the justices sided with the plaintiff striking down the abortions laws of the state of Texas. The Supreme Court went on to state that the right of privacy is broad enough to include a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. (Herda 83). This decision was not the big news maker of January, 22, 1973 as this was the day that President Lyndon B. Johnson died. However, the lasting impact is one that still exists even today.
There are many aspects of the pro-life movement which support the reasons that abortion should be abolished many of...