Case Roe v. Wade

The Roe case against Wade or Roe v. Wade is the name of the 1973 court case , in which the Supreme Court of the United States recognized – by a split decision of 7 to 2 – theabortion-induced right in that country . 1

History of the case

In 1970 , the newly graduated from the Faculty of Law (Law) of the lawyers University of Texas , Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington , filed a lawsuit in Texas representing Norma L. McCorvey ( ” Jane Roe “). McCorvey claimed that her pregnancy had been the result of rape . The District Attorney of the County of Dallas, Texas , Henry Wade , representing the State of Texas, who opposed the abortion. The District Court ruled in favor of Jane Roe, but declined to establish a restriction against abortion laws . 1 2

The case was appealed repeatedly until it finally reached the US Supreme Court , which finally in 1973 decided that women, protected by the right to privacy – under the ” due process ” clause of the ” fourteenth amendment “- could choose whether or not continue with the pregnancy, the right to privacy is considered a fundamental right under the protection of the US Constitution and therefore could not be legislated against by any state. 1

“Jane Roe” gave birth to her daughter while the case had not yet been decided. The baby was given for adoption. Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113 (1973) was finally decided by the Supreme Court of the United States, giving rise to a historic decision on abortion. According to this decision, most laws against abortion in the United States violated the “constitutional right to privacy under the” clause of due process “of the” Fourteenth Amendment “of the 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

This decision of the Court was interpreted as the decriminalization of abortion for the 50 states of the Union.

In 1995 Norma McCorvey regretted her performance and acknowledged that part of her statement at the trial was not true. McCorvey claims that she became a “pawn” of two ambitious young women attorneys ( Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee ) who were looking for a plaintiff to change legislation banning abortion in the State of Texas . 3

In 2005, she asked the Supreme Court to review the 1973 ruling, arguing that the case should be re-examined due to new evidence on the damages caused to women by the proceeding, but the petition was denied.


In 1987 , McCorvey admitted that she had not actually been raped by gang members, as she maintained during the substantiation of the case. [ Citation needed ] . Sarah Weddington, the lawyer who litigated the Roe v. Wade in the Supreme Court, explained in a speech at the Institute of Ethics in Education in Oklahoma why he used the false charges of rape until he reached the Supreme Court: “My conduct may not have been entirely ethical. For what I thought were good reasons. ” 4

Hugh Hefner , founder of Playboy, acknowledged his funding for the trial; “Probably Playboy was more involved in Roe v. Wade than any other company. We provided funding for those first cases and also wrote the amicus curiae in the Roe case.” 5

Roe v. Wade is one of the most controversial and politically significant cases in the history of the Supreme Court of the United States. Another case on the same subject, Doe v. Bolton , was decided at the same time.

The central content of Roe v. Wade is that abortion should be allowed to the woman, for any reason, until the moment the fetus becomes ” viable “, that is, is potentially capable of living outside the womb without artificial help . Viability is around seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even within 24 weeks. Prior to this “viability line,” the Court held that abortion must be available when necessary to protect women’s health, which the Court broadly defined in the Doe v. Bolton.

The Roe v. Wade is the emblematic case on abortion, up to the present, by the issues that it raises. Among them: When and to what extent abortion should be considered illegal; Who should decide whether or not abortion is illegal; What methods the Supreme Court should use when awarding constitutional rights; And what role particular religious or moral approaches can play in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade transformed national politics, dividing the country into pro-Roe ( pro-death ) and anti-Roe ( pro-life ), inspiring strong activism on both sides.

Roe’s critics argue that the decision is illegitimate because it deviates from the text and history of the Constitution, imposing the same policy of possibility of abortion in all states. Another criticism argues that the opinion of the majority of the Court did not recognize the rights of fetal human life, from conception forward. Supporters, on the other hand, describe Roe v. Wade as vital for the preservation of women ‘s rights , their privacy and personal freedom.


  1. ↑ Jump to:a b c d 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↑ Roe vs. Wade , 314 F. Supp. 1217 (1970), [1] (PDF, checked on 15 February as as 2008
  3. Back to top↑ – Who is ‘Jane Roe’? – Jun. 18, 2003
  4. Back to top↑ Tulsa World 24-V-93
  5. Back to top↑ Miami Herald 18-XI-92