Roe vs. Wade: American Landmark Case

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Difference between Roe and Wade

Roe v. Wade is the decision on a landmark case brought before the Supreme Court that basically overturned a previous Texas ruling in abortion law, and essentially legalized abortion in the United States. In this article, we examine some of the specific details of the case and its significance in today's legal climate.

Roe
Wade

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Roe v. Wade is the name of a widely publicized decision by the United States Supreme Court with regard to the abortion issue as it pertained to a particular case. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the right to privacy as mandated by the Constitution encompasses the decision to have an abortion, although the right must be considered against the interests of protecting prenatal life and the health of the mother.

The Basics Of The Case

The decision of the Court was that abortion is a fundamental right of the country's citizens, under the tenets of the Constitution. What this meant was that all laws that attempted to restrict this right would be subjected to the utmost scrutiny.

The rationale of the district court was also taken into consideration, although the Court's ruling subsequently went counter to its aims. Justice Harry Blackmun himself stated that the Constitutional right to privacy encompassed the right of a woman to make a decision with regard to an abortion, regardless of whether the Fourteenth Amendment on personal liberty and restrictions on the state, or the Ninth Amendment on the rights of the people were considered. One Justice more succinctly stated that the Ninth Amendment does not ensure rights that can be enforced on a federal level. The majority then entrusted its opinion on the due process clause of the Constitution.

Public Stance

Proponents of Roe have referred to the landmark decision as essential to the preservation of women's rights, and to personal freedom as well as privacy. References were also made to the denial of abortion being akin to compulsory motherhood, and some sectors have even suggested that banning abortions is actually in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment, in which it is stated that pregnant women cannot be forced to remain pregnant by the state.

Critics of the Roe decision on the other hand have voiced out their opinion that the decision was made without solid constitutional basis. Some have even suggested that there is nothing in the Constitution to address the issue, and that a more acceptable solution would be gained through the passage of new laws arrived at through a democratic process instead of a blanket ruling by the Supreme Court.

In a further footnote to the case, many of the proponents of Roe have stated the validity of the decision as supported by the Constitution, albeit not in the sections referenced in the case.

Similarities and Differences

Roe

  • Held that the right to privacy as mandated by the Constitution encompasses the decision to have an abortion
  • Proponents have referred to the decision as essential to the preservation of women's rights

Wade

  • Relied on the Ninth Amendment on the rights of the people
  • Have said that the decision was made without solid constitutional basis

Which side of the coin is right?
  • Roe
  • Wade
 
 

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