Constitutional case Roe Vs Wade Abstract essay


Constitutionalcase: Roe Vs Wade


Theargument of the constitutional case of Roe v. Wade started in 1971,and a decision was reached in 1973. The case was brought about by apregnant woman, Jane Roe, challenging the constitutionality of thelaw prohibiting abortion as an inhibition to the right to privacy.The plaintiff also consisted of a doctor facing criminal chargesbecause of violation of state laws regarding abortion and a marriedcouple without children, the Does. The defendant during the case wasWade, who was the County District Attorney of the time. This paperpresents a discussion about the Roe v. Wade case, its impact, and thecontroversy surrounding it to come up with a clear research paper onthe same,

ConstitutionalCase: Roe v. Wade

January22, 1973, remains a memorable day in the history of the United Statesfrom the landmark ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade (Faux, 1988). Theannouncement by the Supreme Court of the United States regarding itsdecision on the case of Roe v. Wade challenged the enactment of Texaswhich provided that it was a criminal offense to carry out anabortion not unless in the event that the pregnancy compromised thelife of the woman. The filing of the case had been done by Jane Roe,a single pregnant woman with the desire to terminate her pregnancythrough a safe and legal manner. The filing of the case was based onthe constitutional rights regarding the matters of the right of womento choose. The court stroke down the Texas law by siding with Roe.From the ruling, the tribunal identified that the constitutionalright to privacy was broad enough to be inclusive of the woman’sright to decide on the fate of her pregnancy (Furth, 1989).

Accordingto the Texas Criminal Abortion Laws, the women had no right overtheir pregnancy, and a termination could only be sought on thegrounds of medical advice (Mathie, 1986). The termination of apregnancy was only an option following the opinion of the doctorthat, carrying it to full term, was a threat to the life of themother. In the case, Jane Roe was the plaintiff. Hallford, a licensedphysician with two pending state abortion prosecution cases, wasallowed to become a plaintiff in the case too. The plaintiff alsoconsisted of the Does, a married couple with no children and the wifewas not pregnant at the time. The concern of the Does was that theCriminal Abortion Law did not put regard on the fact that there couldoccur future chances of pregnancies due to the failure ofcontraceptives (Annas, 1983). Such a case would result in unplannedpregnancies, coupled with the lack of preparedness into parenthood,and possible impairment of the health of the wife. The basis of thecase by all the plaintiffs was that the Law on abortion matters wasunconstitutional. The defendant in the case was the County DistrictAttorney, Wade.

Thetrial process composed of a panel of three District Court judges. Ahearing process basing on all the cases of the plaintiffs was done,and a ruling was made that the concerns by Roe and Hallford had thestanding to sue (Blank, 1984). It was also held that their concernspresented controversies which were justiciable. Further, the judgesruled that declaratory, which was not injunctive relief, waswarranted through the declaration that, the abortion statutes of thetime were vague with an overboard infringement on the ninth andfourteenth amendment rights of the plaintiffs (Regan, 1979). A rulingon the concerns of the Does held that their complaints were notjusticiable. Following the injunctive rulings, direct appeals weremade by appellants to the court while the appellee madecross-appealing from the grant of the District Court of a declaratoryrelief on the concerns of Jane Roe and Hallford (Regan, 1979).

Itwas held by the court that, concerning the abortions made during thefirst trimester of the pregnancy, the decision should be left in thehands of the doctor attending to the pregnant woman (Rhoden, 1986).On the cases of abortions during the second trimester of thepregnancy, interests of the state arise due to the concern of thehealth of the mother by coming up with regulations on the proceduresof abortion which ensure the wellbeing of the health of the pregnantwoman (Cane, 1973). Concerning pregnancies in the third trimester,the interest of the state is promoted by the potential of the humanlife through regulation or prohibition of abortion except during theevent when the procedure is necessary for the preservation of thehealth or the life of the pregnant woman (Rhoden, 1986).

Theruling of the Supreme Court held that the proceedings from the twoparties for the purpose of defending legal rights on the mattersconcerning pregnancy has the capability of recurrence. Still, thelitigation evades review and is exceptional to the general rule whichstipulates that there should be an existence of actual controversyduring each stage of the examination of the judiciary and notnecessarily during the initiation of an action (Hyde and Michelman,1988).

Basingon the 28 United States Code Section 1253, the court held that thesection does not allow any party seeking declaratory relief only to adirect appeal to the Supreme Court. Either way, there is noprevention of review in the event that there is an appeal to the casefrom particularly the refusal of injunctive relief, as well as thearguments pertaining the issues of declaratory relief or injunctive,are inevitably similar (Levy and Duncan, 1976).

Theseeking of injunctive relief by the Does plaintiff was from theeventualities which are likely or not likely to occur and thus widespeculation for the presentation of a controversy or an actual case.It was not necessary for the court to make a decision concerning thecase of Hallford about the injunctive relief since when there was anelement of unconstitutionality, there was a prohibition on the Texasauthorities to enforce them (Colson, 1988). In summary, Jane Roe winsthe case with an affirmation on the judgment of the district court.On the other hand, Hallford loses the case, and there is a reversalof the ruling of the district court. Lastly, the Does as well losewith an affirmation of the judgment of the district court.

Thedefinition of constitutional rights.

Followingthe case of Roe v. Wade, the court made a discovery that the rightsof women to come up with their decisions concerning their pregnancyought to be accorded the greatest constitutional protection level(Morgan, 1979). From the case, it was also evident that the right toprivacy is not outright, and there exist valid reasons for the stateto safeguard maternal health and protection of potential life. Thisrecognition gave birth to the definition of the constitutional rightthat it is not a requirement, but the state may forbid abortionlegally after sentiency, apart from the instance whereby it iscrucial for the protection of the health or life of the pregnantwoman (Cane, 1973).

Theimpact of the Roe v. Wade case

Thecase of Roe v. Wade has become popularly known as the case which isresponsible for the legalization of abortion in many nations (Levyand Duncan, 1976). During the time of the ruling of the case, almostall the states prohibited abortion except on the grounds that itsintention was to save the life of the woman. Other valid reasons suchas the preservation of the health of the woman, or during cases ofincest, rape, and the anomaly of the fetus were also grounds forabortion (Cane, 1973). As a result of the case filed by Roe, suchlaws were made unconstitutional. Since then, services regardingabortion became immensely safer and accessible to women needing theservice throughout the state. The decision concerning the case aswell instigated a legal model affecting a significant number of casesin the Supreme Court regarding restriction of access to abortionservices.

Thedecision on the Roe v. Wade case resulted in the improvement of thewomen’s health and lives (Levy and Duncan, 1976). In themid-nineteenth century, the practice of abortion was very unsafe witha whopping seventeen percent of the fatalities due to pregnancy andchildbirth resulting from illegal abortions. Currently, from thenumber of women practicing legal abortion at any gestational period,only less than 0.3 percent develop severe complications warrantinghospitalization (Mahowald, 1989). From the women undertaking legalabortion during the first trimester, there is a significant drop inthe number of cases sustaining serious complications affecting 0.05percent of them. With the ability to decide on their personal healthcare, women are now in a position to pursue education andopportunities of employment initially unimaginable before the eventsof Roe v. Wade case (Paul, 1989). It was notable by the Supreme Courtthat the ability of equal participation in both the social andeconomic aspects of the nation is facilitated by the empowerment tohave control over their reproductive lives. The decision on the Roev. Wade case is a very crucial step in the realization of the fullpotential as Justice Harry Blackmun stipulated (Stewart, 1986).

Reflectionof the ruling on the Traditions of the Americans.

Basingon decades of law cases, the Supreme Court made an establishment thatthe government had no authority regarding interference of somepersonal decisions surrounding marriage, procreation, and certainfeatures of the family life to come up with its decision on the Roev. Wade case. Drawing from the Griswold v. Connecticut case, anappeal regarding the criminal conviction of a director of the PlannedParenthood League of Connecticut for issuing contraceptives tocouples, the Supreme Court was in a position to make a crucialestablishment (Van Alstyne, 1989). It was established that the statelaw prohibiting the use of contraceptives was an infringement on theright of privacy of the married people. After seven years, the Courtestablished that the right was also applicable to the single persons.These cases jointly set the grounds for the Roe v. Wade case.

Roewas a reflection that times have changed. By mid- nineteenth century,there were nationwide attempts for the transformation and thereformation of the criminal abortion laws in practice in almost allthe states (Willin, 1988). There were many cases of lobbying on thelegislatures of the state by advocates of the rights of the women,health care givers, the legal community, and the clergy (Cad, 1986).These groups went to the courts to seek an overhaul of the statutesin existence before the century had set in. Most of these laws drawback to the eighteenth century, a period when legislators stepped into prohibit and declare abortion illegal despite the history of thenation allowing for abortion (Cad, 1986). Long before the decision onthe Roe v. Wade case, works of lawsuits challenging criminal laws onabortion were evident in the courts of a significant number ofstates.

Attackson the right and decision to choose abortion.

Thedecision on the Roe v. Wade case was met with opposition andcriticism. After the passing of the decision, people opposing safeand legal abortion mounted pressure on the federal and statelawmakers to introduce and pass laws which ban abortion (Mahowald,1989). For more than thirty years, the Supreme Court was beingquestioned to make a decision on whether a significant number ofstatutes on abortions had elements violating the right of women toprivacy. In as much as it was evident that most of the restrictionswere not constitutional, the court gave the young females and thosewith low-income the ability to decide on whether to terminate apregnancy at the start of the mid-1970’s (Woo, 1986). The stateand federal bans concerning the funds for abortion remained since itwas required for the young women to notify or get consent from theirparents before procuring an abortion (Reidinger, 1988).

Severalamendments were made in the makeup of Supreme Court prompting thebelief that there will occur an overturn of the Roe v. Wade casefollowing its decision to dispute various abortion restrictions inPennsylvania (Reidinger, 1988). However, there was a reaffirmation inthe maintenance of the decision of Roe v. Wade case by the SupremeCourt during the Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v.Casey case in 1992 (Stewart, 1986). The reaffirmation of the core ofthe Roe v. Wade case was that the right to privacy as provided for inthe constitution is composed of the right of every woman to makedecisions about her personal medical concerns. In spite of this, thecourt made it more complicated for women to achieve success inchallenging laws which were less prohibitive on abortions. The courtmade a ruling that, for success in challenging the constitution, itis apparent to demonstrate that a law has the potential or purpose ofpresenting a significant obstacle in the way of any woman desiring toprocure an abortion. Because of this procedure, various restrictionson abortion have been held, together with the inclusion of the notionrequiring women to undertake repeated trips to the provider of theabortion and experience an executed delay before procuring anabortion (Willin, 1988).

Therewere additional transformations in the makeup of the Supreme Court in2007 leading to more restrictions on the ability of a woman to decideon her personal health concerns regarding her pregnancy. However, thenewly instituted Supreme Court upheld the initial federal legislationcriminalizing abortion. The law is known as the Partial-BirthAbortion Act of 2003 and does not provide any exception for thehealth of the pregnant woman and according to it, it is a federalcriminal offense to instigate certain steps in procuring an abortionduring the second trimester of the pregnancy (Rhoden, 1986).

Forthe court to uphold the introduced ban, it significantly overruled akey composition of the Roe v. Wade case which it had initially madean affirmation repeatedly (Reidinger, 1988). The component was thatthe health of the women should be the primary concern concerning thelaws restricting access to abortions. Diverting from this fundamentalprinciple, the Supreme Court gave a go ahead to the Congress tointroduce ban to prohibit particular abortion procedures undertakenduring the second trimester, which according to doctors and primarymedical organizations are the best and the safest means of abortioncrucial for the protection of the health of the pregnant woman(Reidenger, 1988). According to the explanation of Justice Ruth BaderGinsburg in the expression of contrary opinion in Carhart, there wasno direct overrule of the court on any of its previous rulings.Rather, the decision seemed to cause alarm from the fact that sincethe decision in Roe v. Wade, the court for the first time placed aban without exception to safeguard the health of the pregnant woman(Cane, 1973). Besides, in carhart, the court followed a broadapproach towards the interest of the state in seeking for thejustification of the restrictions on abortion. The implications ofthe decision of the tribunal in the cahart remain evident.


Thereis no issue regarding the movement of the feminists that has sparkledso much passion and controversy as the right to procure an abortion.In the mid-nineteenth century, there was no regulation of theabortions under the federal law. As a result, many states banned thepractices except on the grounds that it was a threat to the life andhealth of the pregnant woman. The paper above has presented theexceptional case of Roe v. Wade in the history of America which sawlegalization of abortion. However, there have been transformations inthe Supreme Court resulting in amendments on the ruling. Activists tohave been pushing for a reversal of the ruling and an enforced ban onabortion. Even in the wake of the current century, the battle isstill fierce.


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