One of, if not the, most controversial cases in the history of jurisprudence in the United States, Roe v. Wade (in full: Jane Roe, et al. v. Henry Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County) was the decision that drew the line stating where in a pregnancy an abortion could occur – and not coincidentally, drew a big line in the cultural divide of America.
Ultimately, the decision provided that abortions could occur at any point prior to the third trimester of the pregnancy – and being the decision of the highest Federal court, it overrode the laws and court decisions of every state in the union. The court’s decision was based on the Constitutional right to due process (as specified in the 14th Amendment), and the more implicit right to privacy.
The decision satisfied no one, and the debate regarding abortion (for a value of debate that includes the occasional murder committed by people who hold “thou shalt not kill” as one of their most sacred moral precepts) continues even today.
By Robert S. Oakes – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress‘s Prints and Photographs division
under the digital ID cph.3b07876.
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