Roe v. Wade (1973) is a great law case. It’s one of the few cases people know. Strangely enough, people either love it or hate it.
That being said, Roe v. Wade dealt with abortion at the US Supreme Court. Specifically, it involved Norma McCorvey aka Roe’s right to abortion. This case established abortion jurisprudence for 20 years.
Moreover, Roe established a fundalmental right to abortion. Supreme Court applied strict scrutiny as a test. Now, women had a right to privacy under the Due Process clause of the 14th amendment.
Broadly speaking, Roe v. Wade was decided on a 7-2 vote. Supreme Court Justices for the majority included: Blackmun, Burger, Douglas, Brennan, Stewart, Marshall, and Powell. Justices Rehnquist and White dissented. The right to abortion was law.
In the media, lawyers (Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee) said Roe was raped. However, this wasn’t true. Lawyers wanted attention for the case, so they made up this fact. Roe just wanted an abortion.
Ironically, Roe had her baby. She never had an abortion. While people think she had an abortion, she had her child.
Later, Norma converted to Christianity after the case. She became a born again christian. She remained a christian till her death.
The religious right was galvanized by Roe. Before the case, states were liberalizing abortion laws. Conversely, evangelicals came together to protest abortion.
Throughout her life, Norma was used by the Right and the Left. When it came to the pro-life agenda, Christian groups used Norma to further their cause. When it came to the pro-choice agenda, abortion groups used Norma to establish a women’s right to abortion. Norma McCorvey was a pawn of these political groups.
Incredibly, Justice Blackmun made shocking public statements in this case. He said, ‘In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to complicate and not to simplify the problem.’ Here, Justice Blackmum said abortion could be used to deal with societal racial problems.
Overall, the Supreme Court ruling on Roe v Wade robbed the people of the democratic process. Prior, there was a movement to liberalize abortion; initially, states were moving in this direction and enacting their own abortion laws. The court undermined the ballot box and took the issue out of the public sphere.
In 1989, abortion was ready to be overturned. In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the supreme court ruled 5-4 that states could decide their own abortions laws. Now, states could put restrictions on abortion, which flew in Roe’s face. Consequently, the writing was on the wall for overturning Roe.
Furthermore, in 1993, Roe was overturned in everything but name. In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the court got rid of the trimester framework and replaced it with a viability test. The supreme court hollowed out Roe and gutted it.
In the final analysis, the issue of abortion remains contentious. In paraphrasing Justice Antonin Scalia, Dred Scott didn’t solved the issue of slavery nor will Roe solve the issue of abortion. Depending on the era, the Due Process Clause can mean a right to own a slave or a right to an abortion. Therefore, the battle over abortion will rage on.