The Roe vs Wade case and the right to abortion in the USA

Abortion was legalized in the United States after a revolutionary decision in 1973 in the “Roe vs Wade” case.

On June 24, 2022, 49 years later, the Supreme Court – the most important legal entity in the country – overturned that right.

The Roe vs Wade case and the right to abortion in the USA

How it all began

In 1969, a young unmarried woman, Norma McCorvey, whose alias before the courts was “Jane Roe,” challenged Texas abortion laws. The state banned abortion as unconstitutional except in cases where the mother’s life was in danger.

The case dragged into court in a fight against Henry Wade and was then titled “Roe vs Wade”.

Being unable to have another child, Norma decided to fight for the right to abortion. The decision was unfavorable, and she was forced to have her daughter. But soon after giving birth, she gave her up for adoption.

She appealed this decision and in 1973 her appeal reached the Supreme Court, where her case was examined along with that of another 20-year-old woman from Georgia, Sandra Bensing Cano.

The arguments were that the Texas and Georgia abortion laws contradicted the Constitution because they infringed on a woman’s right to privacy.

With seven votes in favor and two against, the judges ruled that governments had no right to ban abortion and that a woman must be able to choose whether she wants to terminate her pregnancy and that right must be protected by the Constitution.

 The “Roe vs Wade” case was historic and a symbol of the feminist struggle in American society.


“Roe vs Wade” changed women’s rights

From the “Roe vs Wade” case, a trimester-based system was created in which:

-American women had the right to abort in the first three months of pregnancy;
-Some government regulation was allowed in the second trimester;
-States could restrict or prohibit abortions in the last trimester.

It was also established that a woman could have an abortion in the last trimester, despite any legal prohibition, if doctors certified that it was necessary for health reasons or in case of life-threatening conditions.


What happens now that the law has been repealed?

This year, on June 24, the United States Supreme Court decided to overturn the “Roe vs Wade decision,” which guaranteed the right to abortion in the country for half a century.

In doing so, it ended the constitutional right to abortion for millions of American women, because states will now be able to ban the procedure again.

This has made the divisions in the country even more visible because several states have passed very restrictive laws, including banning them without any exceptions.

HERSTORY Makes History 19, October 2022