What is Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court ruling that struck abortion rights? Explained

Roe Vs Wade, Roe Vs Wade Ruling, Roe Vs Wade 1973
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Protesters protest abortion outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022.


  • Back in 1973, the US Supreme Court had considered whether or not women wanted to have an abortion.
  • The landmark verdict was called Roe v. Wade.
  • The decision dismissed all other legal entanglements around abortion across America.

Roe vs. Wade: In a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court on Friday Reversed the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, and states are empowered to decide whether abortion is legal. The verdict has sparked controversy and war of words between ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro’ activists in the country. Expressing displeasure over the Supreme Court’s decision, President Joe Biden himself has described it as a ‘sad day’ for America.

Can a woman choose to keep her child or have an abortion? This question has always been discussed in the United States. Sexual and reproductive health rights activists saw a major victory in 1973 with the decision of Roe v. Wade. But what is the verdict and why does it matter so much to American women?

Roe vs. Wade

Norma McCorvey, a 22-year-old woman, became pregnant for the third time in 1969 and sought to abort the child. She was unmarried and unemployed and was seeking an abortion in the state of Texas, where abortion was still not legal. Around the same time, two Texas-based attorneys, Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffey, were dealing with a number of cases related to abortion lawsuits in America during the 1970s.

They decided to file a lawsuit stating that abortion is medically necessary for women. To help his case, he needed a plaintiff to make a valid case before the court. This is when McCorvey came and became the main plaintiff. The lawsuit was filed in the Texas District Court in 1970 under the pseudonym ‘Jane Roe’ on behalf of McCorvey.

Henry Wade was the District Attorney for Dallas County, Texas. He was essentially suing a McCorvey, because he asked for an abortion. In June 1970, the court ruled in favor of Jane Roe, saying that Texas’s law against abortion violated her right to privacy, but did not grant an injunction that would allow McCorvey to have an abortion.

1973 Milestone Governance

McCorvey had already given birth by the time the historic Roe v. Wade rule of 1973 arrived. The US Supreme Court held that women in the United States had the right to choose whether they wanted to have an abortion. The decision in favor of Jane Roe spoke extensively against excessive government controls and restrictions and upheld the individual’s right to life and liberty.

McCorvey gave her child up for adoption. The court said that a woman’s decision to have an abortion during the first three months of pregnancy should be left to her and her doctor. Since this was a Supreme Court decision, it dismissed all other legal entanglements surrounding abortion across America.

What does it mean, now that Roe vs. Wade has turned around?

Nearly half a century later, under Roe v. Wade, the US Supreme Court has stripped women of their constitutional protections for abortion, a fundamental and deeply personal change in the lives of Americans. It was the culmination of decades of anti-abortion efforts. The court ruling means that individual states can decide on the legality of abortion. The ruling came more than a month after Justice Samuel Alito’s surprise leak of a draft opinion suggested that the court was prepared to take this important step.

With the verdict being reversed, at least 13 states have laws that allow them to ban abortions immediately or within 30 days. There shall be exceptions to these laws if the life or health of the woman is in danger. But many do not make exceptions for pregnancies that result from rape or incest.

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