This period of time that was interpreted as being within a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and protected by the Fourteenth Amendment (as recognized in 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut). The case of Roe v Wade was first argued on December 13, 1971 but, following a writ of certiorari, was re-argued in the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973 and reached a 7–2 decision in favor of the plaintiff (Roe).
Fast Roe v Wade Facts for kids
Roe v Wade Facts for kids: Roe v Wade Summary
The U.S. Supreme Court declared all the individual state bans on abortion during the first trimester to be unconstitutional.
The ruling allowed states to regulate, but not to ban, abortion during the second trimester (a trimester is a period of three months during pregnancy
It allowed states to ban abortion during the third trimester, unless abortion is in the best interest of the woman's physical or mental health.
The Supreme Court legalized abortion in all trimesters when a woman's doctor believes the abortion is necessary for her physical or mental health
The court also held that only a "compelling state interest" justified regulations limiting the individual right to privacy.
Roe v Wade Facts for kids: Roe v Wade Decision
Roe v Wade Facts for kids: Timeline and Events prior to Roe v Wade
During the 1800's abortion was permitted in the early stages of pregnancy. Abortions were unregulated and led to the deaths of many women. The earliest anti-abortion laws were passed in the early 1800s, when states adopted statutory law.
The early anti-abortion laws were intended to protect women from untrained abortionists. The first statutory abortion regulation was passed in 1821 in Connecticut. The purpose of the law was to protect women from the inducement of abortion through the administration of poison after the fourth month of pregnancy.
The anti-abortion movement saw a rise in 1856 when Dr. Horatio Storer, a leading pro-life advocate established a national drive by the American Medical Association (AMA) to end legal abortion.
The 1873 Comstock Act was a federal law passed by Congress that made the publication and possession of information about or devices or medications used for “unlawful” abortion or contraception. Individuals convicted of violating the law were subject to up to five years of imprisonment with hard labor and a heavy fine.
By 1890 abortion was regulated by statutes advocated by the American Medical Association (AMA), and abortion was permitted on the word of one or more physicians who believed that the procedure was necessary to preserve the life of the mother. In any other cases, women who chose to have an abortion faced criminal prosecution.
In 1959 the American Law Institute (ALI) drafted a model state abortion law to make legal abortions accessible.
The 1965 Griswold v Connecticut was a landmark case in which the Supreme Court ruled that it was a woman’s constitutional right to privacy and protected by the 14th Amendment.
By 1967 abortion was classified as a felony in 49 states and Washington D.C. and one of the major goals of women's rights activists and Feminists was the repeal of laws against abortion.
In 1967 President John F. Kennedy created the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) to advise on issues concerning the status of women.
In 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Committee on The Status of Women (PCSW) released a report calling for a repeal of all abortion laws.
Between 1967 and 1972 California, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia , Maryland, Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, New Mexico, Oregon, Hawaii, New York, Alaska, Washington, Arkansas, Delaware, Kansas, New Mexico, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia and Florida reformed their abortion laws that banned abortion except to save a woman’s life, allowing abortion on demand up to the 24th week of pregnancy. The remaining states allow abortion only to save the mother’s life.
On April 21, 1971 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on its first abortion rights case in United States v. Vuitch. Dr. Milan Vuitch, a qualified physician and an abortion provider in the District of Columbia, was charged with violating a law that only allowed abortions to preserve a woman's life or health.
The Supreme Court ruling, in United States v. Vuitch, was that "health" should include psychological as well as physical well-being and that the burden of proof should be on the prosecutor.
The justices voted to hear other abortion cases, such as Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the day after Dr. Vuitch's opinion was heard.
The Roe v Wade legal case was based around an unmarried, pregnant woman named Roe, a resident of Texas who brought a class action suit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws.
The unmarried pregnant woman of the Roe v Wade case was identified only as 'Jane Roe' in order to maintain her anonymity. The woman concerned has since publicly identified herself as Norma McCorvey.
In late 1969, at the age of 21 years old , Norma McCorvey became pregnant for a third time. She was working in low-paying jobs, depressed and living with her father. She failed to obtain an abortion, and was referred to the attorneys Linda Coffey and Sarah Weddington.
The Roe v Wade began in March 1970 when Sarah Weddington, and her co-counsel Linda Coffey, filed suit against Henry Wade, the Dallas, Texas district attorney and the person responsible for enforcing the anti-abortion statute.
Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee mounted a 1970 constitutional challenge to the Texas criminal abortion statutes that prohibited doctors from performing abortions.
The Roe v Wade law suit sought to have the Texas abortion law declared unconstitutional as an invasion of her right to privacy as guaranteed by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th Amendments and in the 14th Amendments, as recognized in 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut
Sarah Weddington also sought to have an Injunction, or court order, restraining the defendant (Wade) from enforcing the statutes.
The case of Roe v Wade was first argued on December 13, 1971 and the district court agreed that the Texas abortion laws were unconstitutional. However the state appealed against the decision, and the case was eventually reargued in the Supreme Court.
A physician, James Hubert Hallford, who was being prosecuted under the statute for two abortions he had performed, also filed suit against the law.
The three-judge district court combined the cases of Roe (McCorvey) and Hallford and the case was reargued in the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973.
Roe v Wade case took three years of trials to reach the Supreme Court, during which time, Norma McCorvey gave birth to the baby in question, who was eventually adopted.
In Roe v Wade the Supreme Court declared individual state bans on abortion during the first trimester as unconstitutional. It allowed states to regulate, but not to ban, abortion during the second trimester. It allowed states to ban abortion in all trimesters, unless abortion was in the best interest of the woman's physical or mental health.
Another Supreme Court's decision on the case of Doe v. Bolton was released on January 22, 1973, the same day as the decision on Roe v Wade. The case of Doe v. Bolton, was a decision of the US Supreme Court overturning the more liberal abortion law of Georgia.
Together, the decisions of Roe v Wade and Doe v. Bolton overturned many of the states existing abortion laws. However, the decision brought about a furor from anti-abortionist campaigners and gave rise to the United States pro-life movement (also known as the United States anti-abortion movement or the United States right-to-life movement)
The other side of the abortion debate in the United States is the pro-choice movement, which argues that pregnant women retain the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.
The two sides of the debate continue their arguments to the present day.
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