Abortion in the United States

The abortion in the United States , based on induced abortion or abortion is legal in all states of the United States since the judgment of the Supreme Court in Roe V. Wade , the 22 of January of 1973 . 1

The Roe v. Wade ruling established in a “trimester” the time frame in which abortion could be practiced, since it was the period from which the fetus could be viable – a likelihood of survival outside the womb. This ruling prohibited the various states from limiting early abortion during that period, although absolute restrictions or prohibitions could be imposed, depending on the assumptions, once that three-month period had passed. 1

History of abortion in the United States

Before the Independence of the United States barely existed laws on abortion and penalty apply the common law ( common law ) that basically stated that abortion was acceptable and legal if it occurred before the mother felt the fetus ( Quickening ). After the Independence appeared different laws in the decade of 1820: 1821 in Connecticut legislating on the abortive supply to the pharmacy; In New York penalizing the practice of induced abortion.

Many of the early feminists, including Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton , stood against abortion because they saw it as the culmination of a series of assaults on women and their lack of real independence that they had to correct. Then a woman should be able to refuse sexual relations with her husband – from which the unwanted pregnancy and abortion were derived; There was no law to protect the woman from rape of the husband and women of limited resources were without the least independence for divorce and the rejection of sexual relations. Legalizing abortion was for some early feminists to solve a problem without changing their cause. 2 3 4

During the 1860s legislation increased criminalizing and criminalizing abortion; In 1900 abortion was illegal in many states although some included assumptions that permitted abortion in limited circumstances, usually to protect a woman’s life or rape or incest pregnancies . Despite the penalty, abortion continued during the twentieth century, making it very unsafe to consider illegal. In many cases the life of the woman was in danger arriving at its death, as in the case of Gerri Santoro of Connecticut in 1964. 5

Before the Roe v. Wade ruling there were exceptions to the abortion ban in at least 10 states – for rape , danger to the mother and incest -.

Approval of contraceptive methods

In 1965 , the decision by 7 votes in favor and 2 against, the Supreme Court of the United States in the case Griswold v Connecticut , ruled that the United States Constitution protected the right to privacy ( Privacy laws of the United States ) and therefore declared invalid the laws of the different states that violated the right to marital privacy that guaranteed the access and the administration of contraceptives . 6

In 1965, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) assumed the position advocated by Bent Boving in 1959 who considered conception to begin with the implantation of the embryo and not when fertilization occurred . This medical report changed the category of some of the contraceptive methods that until then had been considered abortive methods when they acted before the implantation of the embryo in the uterus . 7 8 By 2015, 58 percent of Americans supported abortion, where it reached its highest level in the last two years, according to an Associated Press poll showing an apparent increase in support for Democrats and Republicans alike over the last year . Referring to Fig.

Case Roe v. Wade 1970-1973

Main article: Case Roe v. WadeIn 1970 , attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington filed a lawsuit in Texas representing Norma L. McCorvey (” Jane Roe “) claiming the right to abortion-induced rape. Although Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade – who represented the State of Texas – was opposed to abortion, the District Court finally ruled in favor of Jane Roe, but without making changes to the law on induced abortion Of the United States. 1 10

“Jane Roe” gave birth to her daughter – whom she adopted – while the case had not yet been decided.

Fourteenth amendment; Right to privacy as a fundamental right

The case was appealed repeatedly to the Supreme Court of Justice of the United States, which finally, in its resolution of January 22, 1973 , established that women have the right to free choice – understood as “the right to Privacy or intimacy “- that would protect the decision whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term. According to the judgment, the right of privacy was derived from the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution . 1 November The Court classified this right as a fundamental so that any violation of this fundamental right to privacy by the government should be justified. 12

The Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973) is considered historical in the matter of induced abortion since, by its hierarchy, it annulled the laws that penalized the abortion in the different states and prevented to legislate against it since it could be considered as violation of the constitutional right privacy reliance on the clause of due process of the fourteenth amendment of the United States Constitution . The decision forced to modify all the federal and state laws that proscribed or that restricted the abortion and that were contrary to the new decision. 1 12

Case of Doe against Bolton – 1973

If the essential content of the Supreme Court’s ruling against Roe v. Wade was that abortion should be allowed to women, for whatever reason, until such time as the fetus becomes viable , that is, is potentially capable of Living outside the maternal womb, without artificial help, the Doe v. Bolton ruling issued on January 22, 1973, established that induced abortion must be legal when necessary to protect the woman’s health.

Facts about abortion in the United States

Communication to health authorities and statistics of abortion practice is not mandatory in the United States, so the statistics are approximate and projected based on the reported cases of the total population. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) 13 regularly compiles statistics on induced abortion.

According to the CDC and the Guttmacher Institute , from 1973 to 2008, some 50 million legal abortions would have been practiced in the United States 14

The induced abortion can be performed by medication or surgery . In the United States the percentage of abortions performed with drugs ( medical abortion ) of total abortions has increased since the approval of mifepristone : 1.0% in 2000, 2.9% in 2001, 5.2% in 2002, 7.9% in 2003, 9.3% in 2004, 9.9% in 2005, 10.6% in 2006, 13.1% in 2007. 15


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c d e Full Text of Roe v. Wade Decision US Supreme Court ROE v. WADE, 410 US 113 (Janyary 22, 1973) 410 US 113 Roe et al. Versus Wade, District Attorney of Dallas County, Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, No. 70-18. Argued December 13, 1971 Reargued October 11, 1972 – Decided January 22, 1973
  2. Back to top↑ Riley, Glenda. Divorce , page 81 (U of Nebraska Press 1997): “Because there were no laws against marital rape, female [divorce] petitioners who believed they had sexually abused the ground of cruelty.”
  3. Back to top↑ McMillen, Sally Gregory. Seneca Falls and the origins of women’s rights movement. Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 21-23. ISBN 0-19-518265-0 : “Legally ending a marriage required extensive resources … Most women in unhappy marriages had no choice but to remain married, often because they lacked the financial means to survive without a husband … Couples in Unhappy marriages often found other ways to cope by leading separate lives. “
  4. Back to top↑ Sherr, Lynn ; Gordon, Ann D. (May 21, 2010). “Sarah Palin is not Susan B. Anthony .” The Washington Post . Retrieved August 3, 2010 .
  5. Back to top↑ James C. Mohr, (1977) .Abortion in America: the origins and evolution of national policy, 1800-1900. Columbia, Maryland
  6. Back to top↑ Griswold v. Connecticut , 381 US 479 .
  7. Back to top↑ Boving, BG, “Implantation Mechanisms”, in Mechanics Concerned With Conception . Hartman, CG, ed. (Pergamon Press 1963), page 386.
  8. Back to top↑ American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Terminology Bulletin. Terms Used in Reference to the Fetus. No. 1. Philadelphia: Davis, September, 1965.
  9. Back to top↑ http://www.univision.com/noticias/aborto/apoyo-al-aborto-legal-en-sub-level-en-alto-en-2-anos-en-eeuu
  10. Back to top↑ Roe vs. Wade , 314 F. Supp. 1217 (1970), [1] (PDF, checked on 15 February as as 2008
  11. Back to top↑ “Amendments to the Constitution of the United States of America” . , Findlaw.com, Footnote 6. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
  12. ↑ Jump to:a b Right to privacy: Autonomy of people, -establishment as a fundamental right in the case Roe v. Wade , in Legal Information Institute, Cornell University Law School
  13. Back to top↑ Centers for disease control, Reproductive Healt
  14. Back to top↑ Facts on Induced Abortion in the United States
  15. Back to top↑ Pazol, Karen; Gamble, Sonya B .; Parker, Wilda Y .; Cook, Douglas A .; Zane, Suzanne B .; Hamdan, Saeed; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (November 27, 2009). «Abortion surveillance – United States, 2006» . MMWR Surveill Summ 58 (8): 1-35. PMID  19940837 . Retrieved on June 11, 2010 .