Everything You Need to Know About Roe V. Wade

Everything You Need to Know About Roe V. Wade

The rulings are viewed as a victory for the minority who have been against abortions.

Everything You Need to Know About Roe V Wade. Women all over the US have been enraged by the Supreme Court’s last week’s ruling over the Roe v. Wade verdict. The rulings are viewed as a victory for the minority who have been against abortions. While many see it as a violation of women’s freedom over reproductive rights.

What Was Roe V. Wade Act?

It was a historic lawsuit that led the Supreme Court to make a ruling on allowing abortion right at the discretion of women. Jane Roe, leading giving the name to the lawsuit, got pregnant out of wedlock and filed a suit for herself and women under similar circumstances to overrule abortion laws in Texas. Her appeal got strength when a doctor joined her stating that the state laws lacked clarity for the doctors to follow. The doctor was arrested previously for violating this law. Texas law made abortions illegal, whether they were just a choice of the mother, however, they were legal if it was to save the mother’s life.

Following this case, the court gave a ruling on two vital things:

The US constitution provided the fundamental “right of privacy” to the mother whether she wanted to carry the pregnancy or terminate it. But the abortion laws were not absolute. They must be balanced with the government’s interest in protecting prenatal life and health.

The Legal Arguments

There were many arguments for supporting or negating the case. We have listed the main ones below:

  • The state, of Texas, was defending the abortion restriction on three main grounds.
  • Safe have right and interests in safeguarding the health of its residents and protecting prenatal life.
  • A fetus qualifies as a person, according to the 14th Amendment.
  • Protecting prenatal life is an obligation and in the interest of the state.
  • The claims laid by Roe regarding the rights of privacy are argued on below points:
  • The Texas law invades the right of freedom of an individual that was laid in the 14th Amendment.
  • The law was also an infringement on the rights of familial, marital, and sexual privacy that is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.
  • The right to abortion is absolute in terms that the individual is entitled to terminate a pregnancy any time they wish, for any reason, or in any way they choose to.

Supreme Court’s Ruling Criteria On The Case

The court split the difference between both arguments in the ruling into two separate categories. In the first one, the court accepted that abortion falls under the privacy rights of an individual. The right came from a due process clause of the 14th Amendment. The clause does not explicitly state that all US citizens have the right to privacy. However, the court recognized the right relating it to 1891. In the Roe v. Wade case, the Supreme Court extended the right of privacy to the control over pregnancy and its control of pregnancy.

The Justice Department recognized that a forced pregnancy can have many unwanted and devastating impacts on not only the parents, especially the mother but also on the long-term betterment of the child. They acknowledged that it can have severe implications for the mental, physical, financial health of a family and not to mention the stigma it carries, significantly in case of rape incidents.

The Court was, however skeptical of the state’s rights that begin from the conception. The constitution’s definition of a person is also vague but it does say that it protects those who are “born or naturalized” in the US. From precedents taken from other cases, the court concluded that the unborn has never been acknowledged as a person in the whole sense.

Decision on the Case

The entire case and its decision were taken as a discussion of the different views on when the life of a fetus begins. In the Jewish faith, for example, life begins when a child is born but according to the dominant Catholic faith, life begins at the time of conception.  The views of the medical science and the doctors also vary on the subject matter, which predominantly stated that the life already begins before the actual birth and the court finally concluded that it is not up to the court to decide when the life begins.

Despite all the arguments, the court did not agree that there is a guarantee for the state to make abortion an absolute law. And the privacy laws do not stop the state from restricting abortions.

Addressing Privacy Rights

The court, at that time, formulated a framework to balance the interest of the state and the privacy rights acknowledging that the rights of pregnant women conflict with the rights of the state to protect human life, even if it is in the potential form. Moreover, the court attempted to define the rights of each party in the case by dividing the pregnancy term into three trimesters of 12 weeks each.

The court held that during the first three months or first trimester, the state cannot control or regulate an abortion except to the extent to ensure that the abortion is safely performed by a licensed doctor. In the second trimester, the state may regulate abortion if there is a reasonably valid reason that might include medical conditions that are harmful to the pregnant person. While in the third trimester, the interest of the state to safeguard a human life outweighs the right of privacy of the individual resulting in the state prohibiting the abortion unless it is to save the life of the mother.

The Significance of Roe v. Wade Verdict

Many people viewed and continued to view the case that legalized the abortion process, which, however, isn’t true in its entirety. The case was a landmark in which the state could regulate the laws around abortion. It might be surprising that Roe did not have any impact on the number of abortions that were carried out each year in the US. According to the research carried out by the Guttmacher Institute, before the Roe case, there were over a million illegal abortion procedures performed every year in the US. After Roe’s case, the number was still around one million, the only difference was that now they were performed legally under safe medical conditions. It became evident when the number of deaths resulting in unsafe abortions dropped dramatically in the following years of the case. 

The short version of the case proceedings was that it became legal to have an abortion. However, many opponents demanded stricter laws of abortion that were more absolute. But they were not able to ban abortion rights, only succeeding in getting limitations on abortions.

Resultingly, several states placed limitations on abortion rights in circumstances requiring mandatory notification requirements and complete disclosure of risks leading to the need for an abortion, especially for those that were in need in the second or third trimester. 

This issue is still a strongly debated topic even in presidential elections. States have continued to pass regulations that are often challenged in the federal courts but only a few reaches the Supreme Court.

Also Read: Johnny Depp Vs. Amber Heard – All You Need to Know About the Case.

Where Does the Law Stand Now?

In previous days, the Supreme Court has overturned the right to abortion. 26 states are likely to release regulations for abortion restrictions or bans. The Supreme Court has given its verdict in favor of Mississippi to ban abortions after 15 weeks of the pregnancy. This verdict has effectively put an end to the right to abortion for many pregnant women in the US. The number can be up to millions.

The states are now again able to put laws banning the process of terminating the pregnancy. 13 states have already begun the process of passing laws and regulations that are acting as the triggers that will automatically place a ban on the abortion process, following the ruling of the Supreme Court. Several other states are joining the wave in making abortions illegal again. There are in total nine judges on the Supreme Court, including six that are appointed by the Republican Presidents.


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