Tuesday, December 7

the case that decriminalized abortion in the United States


(CNN) — Here’s a look at Roe v. Wade of the United States Supreme Court.

The case

1971: The case is brought by Norma McCorvey, known in court documents as Jane Roe, against Henry Wade, the Dallas County district attorney, who enforced a Texas law prohibiting abortion except to save a woman’s life.

The decision

January 22, 1973: The Supreme Court of the United States, in a decision 7-2, affirms the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Court held that a woman’s right to abortion was included in the right to privacy (recognized in Griswold v. Connecticut) protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision gave women the right to abort during the entire pregnancy and defined different levels of state interest to regulate abortion in the second and third trimesters.

The resolution affected laws in 46 states.

The full text of the judges’ opinions can be read here.

Legal timeline

1971: The case is brought by Norma McCorvey, known in court documents as Jane Roe, against Henry Wade, the Dallas County District Attorney, who enforced a Texas law prohibiting abortion except to save a woman’s life .

1971: The Supreme Court agrees to hear the case presented by Roe v. Wade, who applied the Texas abortion law, which had been declared unconstitutional in a previous case in a federal district court. Wade ignored the court ruling and both parties appealed.

December 13, 1971: The case is discussed before the Supreme Court of the United States.

October 11, 1972: The case is re-disputed before the Supreme Court of the United States.

January 22, 1973: The Supreme Court of the United States, in a decision 7-2, affirms the legality of a woman’s right to have an abortion under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

June 17, 2003McCorvey (Roe) files a motion with the United States District Court in Dallas to have the case vacated and asks the court to consider new evidence that abortion hurts women. It includes 1,000 affidavits from women who say they regret their abortions.

September 14, 2004: A three-judge panel of the US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans dismisses McCorvey’s motion to vacate the case, according to the court clerk.

US: Supreme Court upholds Texas abortion law 0:41

Participants

McCorvey: Texas resident who sought an abortion. Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the life of the pregnant mother. McCorvey was pregnant when she became the lead plaintiff in the case. She put the baby up for adoption.

Since then, McCorvey has come forward and switched sides in the abortion debate. In 1997, McCorvey founded Roe No More, a “pro-life” outreach organization that was dissolved in 2008. McCorvey died on February 18, 2017.

Wade: Dallas County District Attorney from 1951 to 1987. McCorvey sued him because he enforced a law that prohibited abortion, except to save a woman’s life. He died on March 1, 2001.

Sarah Weddington: McCorvey’s attorney.

Linda Coffee: McCorvey’s attorney.

Jay Floyd: Exposed the case of Texas for the first time.

Robert C. Flowers: Reorganized the Texas case.

Opinions of the Supreme Court justices

Most: Harry A. Blackmun (para La Corte), William J. Brennan, Lewis F. Powell Jr., Thurgood Marshall

Participants: Warren Burger, William Orville Douglas, Potter Stewart

Dissident: William H. Rehnquist, Byron White


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