Essay on The Roe V. Wade Decision

1529 Words 7 Pages
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment applied to a woman 's decision to have an abortion. The 7-2 Roe v. Wade decision was one of the most controversial rulings ever made by the Supreme Court and the morality and legality of abortion are issues that continue to be hotly debated in American politics. Under common law, abortion was legal in the United States leading up to the nineteenth century. In 1821, Connecticut passed the first law to restrict abortion in the United States. The law prohibited the use of a toxic substance to cause a miscarriage after "quickening," or when a woman first feels the fetus move. Quickening usually occurs four or five months into the pregnancy. In 1873, Anthony Comstock, head of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, lobbied to pass the Comstock Law. The Comstock Law was a federal law that banned the selling or distributing of materials related to contraception and abortion. However, several federal court cases from the 1930s to the 1970s struck down the contraception portions of the Comstock Law. (Wilson).
By 1900, abortion was illegal throughout the United States. The number of abortions increased greatly during the Great Depression of the 1930s, as did the maternal mortality rate. In the early twentieth century, safe abortions were terribly expensive and cheap abortions were extremely dangerous. In the 1960s, the Society…

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