Supreme Court Case: Roe V. Wade

1567 Words7 Pages

The landmark Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade served as the first case in a string of many court decisions that limited a state’s ability to outlaw abortions. The Roe case addressed whether a woman had a constitutional right to “choose to terminate her pregnancy”? The Roe case had to decide whether states had any compelling interest that would allow them to regulate or outlaw a women’s ability to receive a medical abortion? Also, under what standards would states be able to constitutionally pass legislation that regulated a women’s right to have an abortion? After much debate, the Supreme Court held that women had a right to have an abortion without being in fear of criminal charges, so long as the procedure took place within her first trimester. …show more content…

This concurring argument is a stronger argument than the right to privacy reasoning upheld in the majority opinion of the court. The liberty claim as seen in Justice Stewart’s concurring opinion of the Roe case, used the same substantive due process basis as the majority opinions right to privacy reasoning. The right to liberty claim is a stronger reasoning in the Roe case because the court had previously recognized that the liberty granted by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution could not be limited in the same capacity as other terms granted elsewhere in the Constitution. In decisions made prior to the Roe case, Justice Harland wrote that, “liberty is not isolated points pricked out in terms. . . It is a rational continuum which, broadly speaking, included a freedom from all substantial arbitrary impositions and purposeless restraints.” If liberty is not clearly defined, then it serves as a concept that gathers meaning from the changing economic and social facts that remain in society. The court has held that the “freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.” Personal liberties extend to a women’s choice to have a family and if she decided to not have a family then it reasons …show more content…

Yet if a woman has a right to property then she has a right to control her own body which is her property to do with as she sees fit. The court noted that a woman did not have the right to privacy granted by Substantive Due Process because her rights could not be separated by the rights of the developing fetus. However, the right to life, liberty and property granted in the Constitution only “speak of persons born or naturalized in the United States. But in nearly all the instances the use of the word is such that it has application only to postnatally.” The developing fetus cannot maintain the same right to property as the pregnant women. In order for the court to take control of a women’s body they have to prove that they have a significant state interest in protecting the property of the developing fetus, but the fetus has no defined rights under the Constitution. Furthermore, if the court denies women the right to have an abortion they are effectively depriving her of her right to property which would set a dangerous precedent. If the government can decide to make a woman retain her pregnancy, then they can effectively control other aspects of her

More about Supreme Court Case: Roe V. Wade

Open Document