Roe V. Wade Summary

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Landmark Cases: Roe V. Wade, 1973.

A young, unwed woman by the name of Norma McCorvey became pregnant and sought out an abortion in Texas in 1969. Texas law made abortion a felony unless “on the medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother,” or rape and incest cases. McCorvey attempted to obtain an abortion through two measures, claiming she was raped, and illegal clinics. There was no police report to prove she had ever been raped and the illegal clinics were shut down by police. McCorvey decided to sue the state of Texas under the violation of her Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as her First, Fourth, and Ninth. Two young attorney, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, stepped in to bring on the lawsuit on behalf of McCorvey. They gave her the name “Jane Roe” and began the process of suing the state of Texas and defending district attorney
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In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled that the statute violated Roe’s constitutional right to privacy. The Court argued that the Constitution’s 1st, 4th, 9th, and 14th Amendments protect an individual’s “zone of privacy” against state laws and cited past cases ruling that child rearing, marriage, and contraception are activities covered in this “zone of privacy.” They then aruged that the “zone of privacy” was “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.” The decision itself involved physical, psychological, and economic stresses a pregnant woman must face. Because abortion lies within a woman’s “zone of privacy,” the decision is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution from regulation by the states, so laws regulating abortion must sufficiently “important.” The Court reviewed history of abortion laws, from ancient Greece to contemporary America, and therein found three justicifications for banning abortion: “A

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