In a recent Supreme Court decision, the Court overturned the decision in Roe versus Wade and we have seen a lot of protests going on. However, not a lot of people are well-versed in the Roe v Wade decision. It is up to us to tell you about it.
In this continuation of the series, let us now talk about how the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade decision.
The Story of Roe v Wade
The story of Roe v Wade is one that started when a woman challenged the criminal abortion laws in the State of Texas. Under the pseudonym, Jane Row, Norma McCorvey challenged the state law that forbade abortion as unconstitutional. The only known exception, in that case, is when the mother’s life is in danger.
On the other side, we have the district attorney for Dallas County, Henry Wade, who was defending the anti-abortion law in the State.
During that time, Jane Roe was pregnant but she claimed that it was the product of rape. She filed a case and claimed that she was raped. The case was rejected and Roe gave birth to a baby.
The case progressed when Roe appealed her case alongside that of another woman, a 20-year-old woman from Georgia. In their arguments, they stated that abortion laws in Texas and Georgia went against the US Constitution because they infringed a woman’s right to privacy. Once decided, the Court found that governments lacked the power to prohibit abortions. The decision was clear that a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy was protected by the US constitution.
Before the decision to overturn the case, Roe v Wade was the landmark case that set the tone for abortion laws and how it is implemented today.
Overturning Roe v Wade Today
The case that overturned Roe v Wade is the case of Dobbs v. Jackson. In the decision, the Court ruled that the decision in Roe v Wade must be overturned for a number of reasons. Below, we are quoting the complete portion of the decision:
“We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled. The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely—the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. That provision has been held to guarantee some rights that are not mentioned in the Constitution, but any such right must be “deeply rooted in this Nation’s history and tradition” and “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.” Washington v. Glucksberg, 521 U.S. 702, 721 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted).
The right to abortion does not fall within this category. Until the latter part of the 20th century, such a right was entirely unknown in American law. Indeed, when the Fourteenth Amendment was adopted, three quarters of the States made abortion a crime at all stages of pregnancy. The abortion right is also critically different from any other right that this Court has held to fall within the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of “liberty.” Roe’s defenders characterize the abortion right as similar to the rights recognized in past decisions involving matters such as intimate sexual relations, contraception, and marriage, but abortion is fundamentally different, as both Roe and Casey acknowledged, because it destroys what those decisions called “fetal life” and what the law now before us describes as an “unborn human being.”
Stare decisis, the doctrine on which Casey’s controlling opinion was based, does not compel unending adherence to Roe’s abuse of judicial authority. Roe was egregiously wrong from the start. Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences. And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.
It is time to heed the Constitution and return the issue of abortion to the people’s elected representatives. “The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations, upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Casey, 505 U.S., at 979 (Scalia, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). That is what the Constitution and the rule of law demand.”
The Casey that the Court refers to in this case is the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833 (1992). In that case, as the Court cites, the Court revisited Roe, but the Members of the Court split three ways. Two Justices expressed no desire to change Roe in any way. Four others wanted to overrule the decision in its entirety. And the three remaining Justices, who jointly signed the controlling opinion, took a third position.’
In that case, the Court presented an obvious difference:
Their (the Justices’) opinion did not endorse Roe’s reasoning, and it even hinted that one or more of its authors might have “reservations” about whether the Constitution protects a right to abortion.’ But the opinion concluded that stare decisis, which calls for prior decisions to be followed in most instances, required adherence to what it called Roe’s “central holding”’—that a State may not constitutionally protect fetal life before “viability”—even if that holding was wrong. Anything less, the opinion claimed, would undermine respect for this Court and the rule of law.
With this overturn, it is now time to look at your State’s Abortion Law and how it affects you.
In the State of Michigan, what is the law on Abortion? Is Abortion criminal in the State of Michigan? We will discuss this more in the coming articles of this series.
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