Roe V. Wade Roe, Et Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

But the Georgia statute outlaws virtually all such operations -- even in the earliest stages of pregnancy." Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973)



In a dissenting opinion, Justice Rehnquist states that the decision handed down by the Court is one in which a state is disallowed the imposition of any restrictions whatsoever on abortions during the first trimester of the pregnancy. Justice Rehnquist specifically states that there is nothing in the opinion of the Court that "indicates that Texas might not constitutionally apply its proscription of abortion as written to a woman in that state of pregnancy." Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Rehnquist further argues that "The Court eschews the history of the Fourteenth Amendment in its reliance on the 'compelling state interest test. But the Court adds a new wrinkle to this test by transposing it from the legal considerations associated with the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to this case arising under the Due Process Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment. Unless I misapprehend the consequences of this transplanting of the "compelling state interest test," the Court's opinion will accomplish the seemingly impossible feat of leaving this area of the law more confused than it found it. [p174]" Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Furthermore it is held by Justice Rehnquist that because that most of the States have historically placed restrictions on abortions for nearly 100 years that this is a "strong indication...that the asserted right to an abortion is not 'so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked fundamental.' Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Another point made by Rehnquist is that in order to reach its opinion, it had to assume that the right to abortion was completely unknown to the drafters of the Fourteenth amendment and that "by the time of the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868 that there were already "at least 36 laws enacted by state or territorial legislatures" that limited abortion rights.


Justice White relates in his dissenting opinion the fact that "at the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose not danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother, but are nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons - convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc." Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Justice White states that the issue of the case upon which the opinion rests is one which claims that a women should be entitled to an abortion "at her request" for any reason whatsoever in the case that the women can find a medical advisor "willing to undertake the procedure." Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Justice White holds that he finds nothing "in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court's judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers, and with scarcely any reason or authority for its actions, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes..." effectively disallowing all fifty U.S. states to "weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus..." Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) Justice White notes that the court has placed more value on the prospective mother's convenience that on the right to life of the child she carries.


In this case the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the statutes of the state of Georgia and Texas were overly restrictive in relation to the rights of the pregnant woman and the control that the woman has over her own life to choose to follow through with a pregnancy and particularly in relation to health status. Of the Justices that dissented in this matter, it was held Justice Rehnquist that at the time of the framing of the Fourteenth Amendment there were 36 laws that placed restrictions on abortions and that there was not, within the framework of the Constitution a right to an abortion.


The principle of this case is within the framework of the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process rights of an individual and whether those rights were being violated by the statutes of the States of Texas and Georgia…

Sources Used in Document:


Roe, et al. v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 Supreme Court of the United States January 22, 1973. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas. No. 70-18.

Roe v. Wade

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