Roe v. Wade

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Roe v. Wade,

case decided in 1973 by the U.S. Supreme Court. Along with Doe v. Bolton, this decision legalized abortionabortion,
expulsion of the products of conception before the embryo or fetus is viable. Any interruption of human pregnancy prior to the 28th week is known as abortion. The term spontaneous abortion, or miscarriage, is used to signify delivery of a nonviable embryo or fetus due
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 in the first trimester of pregnancy. The decision, written by Justice Harry Blackmun and based on the residual right of privacy, struck down dozens of state antiabortion statutes. The decision was based on two cases, that of an unmarried woman from Texas, where abortion was illegal unless the mother's life was at risk, and that of a poor, married mother of three from Georgia, where state law required permission for an abortion from a panel of doctors and hospital officials. While establishing the right to an abortion, this decision gave states the right to intervene in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy to protect the woman and the "potential" life of the unborn child. Denounced by the National Council of Bishops, the decision gave rise to a vocal antiabortion movement that put pressure on the courts and created an anti-Roe litmus test for the judicial appointments of the Reagan and Bush administrations (1981–93). In a 1989 case, Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, the court, while not striking down Roe, limited its scope, permitting states greater latitude in regulating and restricting abortions. Then in 1992, in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the court reaffirmed the abortion rights granted in Roe v. Wade, while permitting further restrictions.


See N. McCorvey with A. Meisler, I Am Roe (1994); N. E. H. Hull and P. C. Hoffer, Roe v. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History (2001, rev. ed. 2010).

References in periodicals archive ?
To test Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court can decide to hear a case that has been challenged in lower courts -- most likely if one court upholds an abortion law but another court elsewhere knocks down a similar law, setting up a showdown, experts say.
The Roe v Wade decision is based on a falsehood, it effectively declared that the unborn child is not a human being and is the property of the mother.
Surely, with 22,841 unvarnished citations to Roe v Wade, a trained lawyer will be looking instead to KeyCite or Shepard's to determine whether Roe is still good law.
Washington -- Tens of thousands of pro-life supporters braved the bitterly cold winds of the National Mall in Washington D.C., on January 22, to mark the 30th anniversary of the infamous 1973 Roe v Wade decision which legalized abortion in the U.S.