Supreme Court Case: Roe versus Wade - Essay Example

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There are numerous controversial cases that have been presided over by the Supreme Court of the United States. One such case is the case that involved Roe and Wade. The case whose ruling has remained subject to debate to-date related to the issue of abortion. Indeed, before the high court ruling, abortion was unconstitutional and therefore was prohibited in the country. …
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Supreme Court Case: Roe versus Wade
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Download file to see previous pages An overview of the Roe versus Wade Case and Supreme Court decision
The Roe v. Wade case was decided in 1973 following a suit filed by Norma McCorvey (under the alias Jane Roe) against Dallas County District Attorney (Henry Wade). The main event that led to the filing of the case was Roe’s third pregnancy against her wishes. Initially, Roe wanted to procure an abortion pretending that she had been raped. This scheme however failed. During this time, Texas had stringent anti-abortion laws only allowing it in the case of incest and rape. In 1970, the US District Court, Texas, ruled in Roe’s favor citing a number of merits but went short of granting an injunction that would bar the laws on abortion from taking effect. The court’s decision was guided by the 9th amendment and the Griswold versus Connecticut ruling.
Roe appealed against the ruling of the district court in the Supreme Court. Justice Harry Blackmun in his guided opinion emphasized that Texas law on abortion was vague. Later in 1973, the court ruled in favor of Roe in a 7-to-2 majority vote. The court’s decision made it clear that abortion was indeed a fundamental right according to the supreme law of the land. As such, any law that attempts to restrict the procurement of abortion ought to be subjected to strict scrutiny. Furthermore, the court ruled that the right of privacy as encompassed in the 9th amendment is broad enough to consider the decision of a woman in regard to maintaining or terminating her pregnancy (Cornell University Law School, 2011). The court in making this decision declined to consider the 9th Amendment rationale as postulated by the district court. According to the ruling, the ninth amendment did not obviously establish rights that could be enforceable by the federal government. In this respect, Roe won the court’s favor majorly on the basis of the due process clause of the Constitution (Cornell University Law School, 2011). Constitutional questions raised by the case The main question that the Supreme Court ruling seeks to answer in the Roe V. Wade case relates to the fundamental right of women as enshrined in the Constitution. In particular, the ruling sheds light on the right to privacy and personal liberty. In so doing, it is established that the woman has the right to decide whether to maintain or terminate her pregnancy. In effect, abortion is no longer legal only when it is carried out to save the mother’s life in case of medical complications as was previously the case in many states. The legality of abortion is based on the consideration of various interests of the woman and the preservation of human life. Evaluation of the decision’s constitutional significance There are several court rulings that relate to abortion in the US. Prior to 1821, abortion was considered a common law crime. After this year, several states enacted laws that prohibited abortion; only allowing its procurement under special cases. In a case involving Griswold and Connecticut, a Court ruled that birth control law in the state of Connecticut was unconstitutional (Abortionfacts, 2011). In Katz versus the United States, the court held that there exists no such thing as ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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