Social Issues Discussion

ROE v Wade

The Supreme Court held the opinion that acknowledged the need to be aware of the sensitive and emotional situation of the abortion controversy, the different and divergent views held by different groups, including the physicians, and most importantly, the strong convictions that the subject matter brings about. The U.S. Supreme Court made 7-2 decision that affirmed the legality of woman’s liberty to undertake an abortion as provided by the Fourteenth Amendment of the constitution. The court indicated that the woman’s right to an abortion was within the right to privacy as shown in the Griswold v. Connecticut which was further protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. The court awarded the right to have an abortion by a woman during pregnancy and also defined various interests to regulate abortion in the second and third trimesters.

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Planned Parenthood of Southern PA v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

In making a ruling on the issue of abortion, the Supreme Court made a 5-4 decision which affirmed a previous decision under Roe v. Wade that had provide the rights to an abortion to a woman under Fourteenth Amendment on Due Process Clause. The court based its opinion on the doctrine of stare decisis. The court did reject the trimester framework and chose to follow “undue burden” standard to tell whether the law was violating the woman’s right to have an abortion (Wharton, Friershe & Kolbert, 2006). By use of this standard the court removed the notification of spouse clause that was a requirement under the Pennsylvania statute.

Language that may have contributed to the overruling of a Roe v. Wade

Under the Roe v. Wade a trimester framework and the strict scrutiny standard of review had been adopted to determine the legality of an abortion while the pregnancy was in different stages. This was overruled and replace with an undue burden standard. The argument here was the provisions under the Roe v. Wade tended to restrict abortion by placing substantial obstacles thus deemed unconstitutional.


Wharton, L., Frietsche, S., & Kolbert, K. (2006). Preserving the Core of Roe: Reflections on Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Journal of Law and Feminism, Volume 18, Issue 2.

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