ROE V. WADE LEGAL SUMMARY Legal Timeline: • January 22, 1973 — The Supreme Court of the United States decides Roe v. Wade, rules in favor of “Jane Roe,” and legalizes abortion in America. • January 17, 2003 — The Justice Foundation files a Rule 60 Motion with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas on behalf of Norma McCorvey, the “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade. The Motion was denied in two days and a Motion for Reconsideration was also denied in two days. • October 9, 2003 — An appeal was filed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. On September 14, 2004, the panel of Judges Jones, Wiener, and Prado dismissed the appeal, however, Judge Jones wrote a strong and important concurring opinion expressing her “fervent[ly] hope” that the Supreme Court would acknowledge the developments since 1973 and re-evaluate Roe accordingly. On October 18, 2004, the court denied the petition for rehearing en banc without opinion. • January 18, 2004 — Petition for a Writ of Certiorari was filed with the Supreme Court of the United States. Rule 60 Motion: • Rule 60 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure states in relevant part: Rule 60. Relief from Judgment or Order. (b)…On motion and upon such terms as are just, the court may relieve a party…from a final judgment,…for the following reasons:…(5)…it is no longer equitable that the judgment should have prospective application; or (6) any other reason justifying relief from the operation of the judgment. • Since the original judgment in Roe v. Wade, there have been significant changes in the factual conditions surrounding abortion which demonstrate that abortion hurts women. This includes the sworn testimony of women harmed by abortion; a plethora of medical articles and studies documenting abortion injuries; an explosion of medical and scientific knowledge concerning the effects of abortion on women, and the fact that abortion clinics usually do not provide a normal doctor-patient relationship. In addition, there have been significant changes in the legal conditions including changes in the law of forty-six states that transfer the burden of unwanted child care from women to society and federalism jurisprudence restoring more autonomy to the states. • McCorvey made three major legal arguments: (1)When an important area of social responsibility is constitutionalized, affecting the health of millions of women and effectively withdrawing it from the legislative arena and lower courts, the Supreme Court has a special duty to monitor substantially changed conditions to ensure justice and protect women’s health; (2) The factual and legal conditions underlying Roe have materially and substantially changed since 1973, and thereby render prospective application of Roe unjust; and, (3) The lower courts erred in denying McCorvey due process and abused their discretion. • Operation Outcry: Silent No More (OOSNM) —— continues to expose the two false assumptions surrounding legalized abortion: (1) abortion is good and safe for women; and, (2) it is not a baby being aborted. OOSNM proives an avenue for women to publicly share the tragic effects that abortion has had on their lives and makes a national 24-hour toll-free HELP Line available to help women deal with the grief and to offer help and healing. The next step: • The Supreme Court will decide whether to grant the Writ of Certiorari. Because the Court has constitutionalized the right to abortion and essentially removed the regulation of abortion practice from the legislative and political process, it is the only entity that can truly consider the factual and legal changes concerning abortion. • What does a denial of certiorari mean? “Unlike appeals, however, from a jurisprudential or precedential perspective, the denial is theoretically without meaning. By refusing to take the case, the Supreme Court is not saying that the decision below was correct – indeed the justices may well believe that the case was incorrectly decided. The justices are saying simply that they will not review the case, that the decision below stands, and that they are making no official judgment on the correctness of the decision or the issues it raises.” H.W. Perry, Jr. DECIDING TO DECIDE 37 (1991).