Roe v. Wade
Is abortion considered a moral question by the
majority of American citizens?
Is abortion considered murder by the majority of
Does the decision to have an abortion rest with
the individual? The fetus? Or the government?
Should the government make decisions about
what a human should do to his/her body?
Does the government’s decision to allow/prohibit
abortion reflect the best interests of American
Abortion: The medical procedure of terminating a
pregnancy prior to natural birth, but after conception
Fetus: Commonly considered the unborn child in the
womb, although under debate at what point it becomes
Viable/Viability: The point at which the egg has been
fertilized and embryonic development has begun
Precedent: A legal term used as a standard for future
Norma McCorvey, AKA “Jane Roe”,
challenged the anti-abortion laws in
Henry Wade was the one who was
enforcing the Texas abortion laws
when he was named the defendant in
the Roe v. Wade lawsuit.
Texas civil law forbade abortion
except in the cases when the mother’s
life was in mortal danger.
The Texas Supreme Court heard the
First hearing--Dec. 13, 1971, by Sarah
Weddington on behalf of Roe and Jay
Floyd for the state of Texas.
Second hearing--Oct, 11, 1972 with
Sarah Weddington representing Roe
and Robert Flowers on behalf of Texas.
Verdict was decided on Jan. 22, 1973.
By a vote of 7-2 the court held that a
woman’s right to privacy was entitled
by the 14th Amendment.
The decision gave women total
autonomy over their pregnancy during
the first trimester (the first three
As a result, the laws of 46 states were
affected by the Texas court’s ruling.
This decision gave the states the right
to intervene in the second and third
trimesters of pregnancy to protect the
woman as well as the “potential’ life of
an unborn child.
Four Pillars of Roe
The Roe decision was grounded on
four constitutional pillars.
Pillar I: The decision to have an
abortion was accorded the highest
Pillar II: The government had to
remain neutral; legislatures could not
enact laws to push women to make a
Pillar III: In the phase before the fetus
is viable, the government may restrict
abortion only to protect a woman’s
Pillar IV: After viability, the government
may prohibit abortion, but laws must
make exceptions if it means health
risks with the women.
Four Pillars of Roe today
Only two of the four pillars remain
today as a result of the Supreme Court
decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey
A woman’s right to chose is still
Under Casey, the states no longer
have to be neutral in the choice of
The government is free to pass
restrictions on abortions based on
“morality” a code word for religious anti-
States are now permitted to prohibit
Roe in the 21st Century
In 2000, eight years after the Casey decision, the Supreme Court
agreed to hear another case which Roe for reexamination
During that period, Clinton appointed two justices, Ginsburg and
In a 5-4 vote in the Stenburg v. Carhart, the Supreme Court struck down
Decision lacked a clause protecting abortions to preserve the mothers’
This vote indicated future problems: The Supreme Court was only
one vote away from overturning Roe.
Controversy over Roe
Roe v. Wade sparked immediate
social debate and protest.
Protestors mobilized into two groups
Several states enacted laws limiting
the right of an abortions, including:
Mandated parental consent for minors
to obtain abortions;
Parental notification laws;
Spousal consent laws;
Laws requiring abortions to be
performed at hospitals, not clinics;
Laws barring state funds for abortions;
laws mandating women to read certain
types of literature before choosing an
abortion, and many more.
The real Jane “Roe”
Jane “Roe”, whose real name Norma
McCorvey was made public in the
1980’s with her book entitled I am
Roe: My life, Roe v. Wade, and
Freedom of Choice
In the book, McCorvey, a ninth grade
drop-out describes a difficult life
explaining the physical and emotional
abuses as a child, her rape as a
teenager, and habitual alcohol and
McCorvey, who was 21, when Roe v.
Wade was filed, was on her third
pregnancy; she never had an abortion,
but gave her child up for adoption.
“Roe” switches sides
Once she won the case, McCorvey
worked in several abortion clinics
In 1995, everything changed.
McCorvey was working at a Dallas
clinic when the anti-abortion group
Operation Rescue moved its office
The Rev. Phillip Benham, Operation
Rescue’s director, and McCorvey
developed a relationship.
Benham, an Evangelical preacher,
began discussing Christianity with
On Aug. 8, 1995 McCorvey was
baptized by Benham in a swimming
pool, televised for a national
“Roe” switches sides cont…
McCorvey soon became a devout
Christian and vocal Anti-
Pro-Choice advocates were
angered by McCorvey’s (Roe’s)
betrayal to their cause
During a press conference in Jan
18, 2005, McCorvey claimed she
was a “pawn” of young, ambitious
lawyers who were looking for a
plaintiff so that they could
challenge the Texas state law of
She sought to reopen the case in
a U.S. District Court in Texas and
have it overturned.
An estimated 1,365,000 million women
receive abortions in America annually
Approximately 40 million abortions have
been made since 1973
In 54 countries (61% of world population)
abortions are legal
In 97 countries (39% of world population)
abortions are illegal
88% of abortions occur during the first
60% of abortions are performed on
women who have already had one or
47% of abortions are performed on
women who have already had one or
43% of women will have at least one
abortion by the time they are 45 years old
(this includes miscarriages)
Only 1% of abortions occur as a result of
rape, incest, or fetal abnormalities
Caucasian women account for twice the
number of abortions than any other
You believe that the You believe that women
embryo is a fetus, a should be given the right
human, from the moment to choose what happens
to their body
of a human fetus is The government must
considered murder not take a moral stand
The government has a The government must not
responsibility to interfere in individual
advocate/protect the life liberties
of the unborn child
A Political Correlation
The “Left” The “Right”