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Roe v. Wade

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Revision as of 23:07, 12 October 2008 by Tom Morris (Talk | contribs) (New page: {{subpages}} '''Roe v. Wade''' 441 US 113 (1973) is a United States Supreme Court decision that made most state laws outlawing abortion unco...)

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Roe v. Wade 441 US 113 (1973) is a United States Supreme Court decision that made most state laws outlawing abortion unconstitutional, as it found them violating the constitutional right to privacy that the Court found in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The plaintiff, whose privacy was masked as 'Jane Roe', was Norma L. McCorvey, a pregnant Texan woman who claimed to have become pregnant as the result of a rape. There were co-plaintiffs too: a "childless married couple (the Does), the wife not being pregnant, separately attacked the laws, basing alleged injury on the future possibilities of contraceptive failure, pregnancy, unpreparedness for parenthood, and impairment of the wife's health"[1]. The defendant, Henry Wade, was the District Attorney of Dallas County and represented the State of Texas. McCorvey is now a pro-life activist.

The practical consequences of the plaintiff's victory mean that abortion in the United States is legal until the point at which a fetus becomes viable - set in the court at a maximum of twenty-eight weeks.

Abortion-related cases that have reached the Supreme Court since Roe include Webster v Reproductive Health Services (1989), Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), Stenberg v. Carhart (2000) and Gonzales v. Carhart (2003). The nominations to the Supreme Court in the next Presidential term are widely considered to be the deciding factor on whether or not Roe will continue to be law into the future or not - with Barack Obama being pro-choice and John McCain pro-life.
  1. Mr Justice Blackmun's majority opinion