During the Nixon presidency many movements like the Hippie Movement, The Protest on Alcatraz by members of “Indians of All Tribes”, and the Women’s Rights Movement started to arise. Former President Richard Nixon was a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment that would have guaranteed equality for women. Up until the 19th century abortion was legal in the United States. Problems that emerged was the use of dangerous drugs that women used to induce abortions. Despite there being regulations, these drugs were still being advertised and sold to women. In addition, the American Medical Association started calling for the criminalization of abortion in effort to eliminate doctors’ competitors.
A woman from Texas named Norma McCorvey was looking to end an unwanted pregnancy. At the time of her pregnancy, it was legal to get an abortion in Texas. The catch being that it was for the solely purpose of saving the woman’s life. Norma had previously given birth twice and gave both children up for adoption. She had grown up and was still living in difficult circumstances. Therefore, flying somewhere else to get a legal abortion was out of the question. After miserably failing to get an illegal abortion, she was referred to two Texas attorneys who were interested in challenging anti-abortion laws. They filed a lawsuit on Norma’s behalf and all other women who wanted to consider all options in case of an unexpected pregnancy against Henry Wade, district attorney of Dallas, where Norma lived. Norma’s name was then changed to “Jane Roe” in the court documents. The Texas court ruled in favor of Norma on the grounds that the ban violated a constitutional right to privacy.
The case was then appealed thus, taking it to the Supreme Court. At the same time, Noma gave birth and once again set the child up for adoption. In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Norma legalizing abortion nationwide. The Supreme Court backed up what the Texas court had previously ruled. A woman’s right to an abortion was protected under 14th amendment and the ban was violating that right. The court then stated that in the first trimester, the choice of ending the pregnancy was solely up the mother. In the second trimester, the government could step in and regulate abortion in order to protect the mother’s health. Lastly, in the third trimester, the state could prohibit abortion in order to protect the fetus that could potentially survive on its own outside the womb, except if the mother’s health was in danger.
The Supreme court’s decision aimed to inform the public specifically the women on their rights. Roe V. Wade promised to protect a woman’s ability to make decisions about their bodies without unwanted interference and recognized the essential importance of equality and freedom for women in this society. In addition, it served as motivation for women to not be afraid and use their voice to fight for their rights. Also, in a way it aimed to settle the issue that has been dividing conservatives and liberals. Although, it did not work because one of today’s hot topics is abortion. Forty- six years after the decision was made, the topic still has not been put to rest.
This case was a landmark decision by the U.S Supreme Court but has been under attack ever since. No other topic has caused so much controversy like abortion has. Roe V. Wade became the stepping stone to the numerous women movements there is today. Women of course were ecstatic by the court’s decision, but an opposition quickly emerged. At that time, religion was a huge thing that people took seriously. The Roman Catholic Church had long time condemned abortion as a form of infanticide. Groups like The National Right to Life Committee were created to try and reverse the decision that the court took on Roe V. Wade. Opponents used the label “pro-life” to define their cause while supporters identify themselves as “pro-choice”. Since 1973, the battle has raged, and the fate of the decision taken in the case continues to lie with the Supreme Court.