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Roe v Wade: What to know about the landmark abortion ruling that is under threat

Roe v Wade: What to know about the landmark abortion ruling that is under threat

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  • The world is in shock this month after leaked documents revealed that the Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that gives women the right to abortion care.

    The leaked document, a draft majority “opinion” purportedly written by Justice Samuel Alito, suggests that a majority of US Supreme Court justices are in favor of striking down the law in a vote this June. .

    The news sparked a wave of protests around the world and powerful statements from high-profile figures, from Barack and Michelle Obama to Vice President Kamala Harris and, more recently, Margaret Atwood.

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    With the Supreme Court vote fast approaching, people are taking action now to protect women’s reproductive rights. Because if we have learned anything, it is that we cannot be complacent.

    Most of us are familiar with the name “Roe v Wade” and that it relates to abortion access, but it is crucial that we all better understand the landmark ruling and what is really at stake.

    What is Roe vs. Wade? Who are Roe and Wade? What has changed the historical law? And what will actually happen if it is annulled?

    This is what you need to know…

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    What is Roe vs. Wade?

    Roe v Wade is a landmark 1973 ruling by the US Supreme Court, which concludes that the Constitution must protect the right and freedom of a pregnant woman to choose an abortion without excessive government intervention.

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    Roe v. Wade case

    The decision was motivated by the case of “Jane Roe”, the legal pseudonym of Norma McCorvey, 25, a Texan woman who was pregnant with her third child and wanted an abortion, claiming that it was the product of rape.

    Abortion was illegal in 1969 and the state of Texas prohibited it as unconstitutional, allowing it only in cases where it was necessary to save the life of the mother. McCorvey challenged Texas abortion laws, arguing they were unconstitutional, and filed suit against his local district attorney, Henry Wade. The case was dismissed and McCorvey was forced to give birth. The girl was given up for adoption.

    In 1973, an appeal was made to the US Supreme Court, where McCorvey’s case was heard, along with the case of Sandra Bensing, an anonymous plaintiff challenging Georgia’s abortion law, under the legal pseudonym from “Jane Doe”.

    The Supreme Court ruled in favor of both women, finding that abortion laws in both Texas and Georgia were unconstitutional and violated women’s right to privacy.

    In a 7-2 vote in Roe v Wade, the court’s judges used the case to strike down US federal and state abortion laws and protect a woman’s right to choose.

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    Who were Roe and Wade?

    Jane Roe was the pseudonym of Norma McCorvey, 25, the anonymous plaintiff challenging Texas’ criminal abortion laws. Defending the Texas anti-abortion law was Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade.

    Are Roe and Wade still alive?

    Neither Norma McCorvey (Roe) nor Henry Wade (Wade) are still alive. McCorvey died in February 2017, aged 69. Wade died in March 2001, at the age of 86.

    Who won Roe against Wade?

    “Roe” won the case, with the Supreme Court justices voting 7-2 in favor of Norma McCorvey in 1973. Despite winning the case, it is important to note that McCorvey ended up giving birth to the baby she was requesting to abort. because court proceedings take so long.

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    What changed the case?

    Roe v Wade is responsible for creating the “quarter” system. The invention of such a system allowed state regulation of abortion to differ depending on the stage of pregnancy. Under the ruling, the government cannot prohibit abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy (first three months) and American women have an absolute right to do so. In the second trimester of pregnancy, the sentence allows some government regulation, related to health. And in the third trimester, the ruling allows states to restrict or prohibit abortion, except only in cases where it is necessary to save the life of the mother.

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    Roe v. Wade Supreme Court

    A recent report from politician revealed that the Supreme Court was poised to strike down the landmark 1973 law in a vote this summer on Mississippi’s abortion laws. In the case, the state seeks to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a direct challenge to Roe v Wade. If passed, it is expected to overturn the landmark law.

    The leaked document, a draft majority “opinion” purportedly written by Justice Samuel Alito, suggests that a majority of US Supreme Court justices favor striking down the law, allegedly saying that “Roe was terribly wrong from the start.”

    What will happen if Roe v Wade is overturned?

    If Roe v Wade is overturned, it would be up to each state to determine the legality of abortion. Twenty-six states are expected to ban or restrict abortion if this happens.

    We will continue to update this story.

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