Significant Abortion Ruling of the Supreme Court

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Roe v. Wade

The first abortion that U.S. Supreme Court decided on was the Roe v. Wade in 1973. It has set a pattern on the legality of abortion in America. Previously, abortions were not acceptable in some states. According to the Georgian legislature, legal abortion occurred when a licensed physician could terminate pregnancy. Moreover, termination of pregnancy was accepted if there were risks that its continuation could damage well-being of a mother and risks of a child being born with a defect or if a pregnancy resulted from incest, rape, or another intercourse that was felonious.

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The state legislature mainly dealt with issues of abortion. Roe v. Wade case held that abortion laws of the state violated the fourteenth amendment as the ones involved in the case of Roe and Wade like a life-saving procedure for a mother regardless of the stage of pregnancy. The Clause protected privacy rights against state action, including the right of a qualified woman to end her pregnancy in case the unborn was at risk. The legitimate interests of the state were to protect both the human life and the health of a pregnant woman though it could not override the rights of the woman. Interests of each grew and reached a compelling point at particular stages as the woman approached to term. The state decision also specified that counsel of a physician could decide on issues of abortion in the first trimester (Gold 1990), but after that they created regulations. In all fifty states, decisions overturned the statutes of abortion. The premier Court relied on the first, ninth, and fourteenth amendments to create the right of personal privacy and personal liberty. After the Roe v. Wade resolution in 1973, American women have gotten an option to obtain sanitary and safe abortion procedures not only for terminations but also for elective abortions that are crucial for the well-being and life of a woman.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Planned Parenthood v. Casey in 1992 was the second abortion case to be ruled by the Supreme Court. It restored the right of a woman to choose abortion as she appeared to have suffered from a terminal illness. Casey abandoned the trimester basis framework for determining the legality of abortion in favor of the pre- and post-viability of the fetus. The Supreme Court reaffirmed Roe v. Wade decision, but liberty replaced privacy as an interest in the Constitution. Casey stated that, considering the basic constitutional question that Roe v. Wade rectified, principles of the rule of stare decisis and institutional integrity, Roe’s essential holding had to be reaffirmed and preserved. Despite confirmation of power of the state to stop abortions after living or surviving successfully, a woman had a right to be recognized and decide whether to have an abortion or not. Moreover, state principles to have a legitimate appeal from the pregnancy outset in the fetus life that became a child and protection of the well-being of the woman were granted. Casey affirmed that the principle had been behind the Roe v. Wade case. He also warned that the country could put undue burden on the regulatory procedures that could create obstacles. Roe’s decision was upheld despite Casey precedents as additions to the abortion argument. The court affirmed all the precedents of Roe and Wade even after appointment of anti-Roe judges to the court and change in the public opinion. Although the primary protection remained the same, Casey revised the legal grounding relating to the right of abortion. After Casey, nine amendments were still preserved in part of the right to privacy, but it was changed to the right to liberty.

Gonzales v. Carhart (2007)

Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) was a Supreme Court’s case in America where the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 was upheld. After an appeal of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to the Supreme Court of the USA for the Eighth Circuit in Carhart to have the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act cancelled, the case reached the highest court. The decision by the Supreme Court was to uphold the ban of the Congress and deny that it did not impose an unnecessary burden on the right of women for a due process to secure abortion (Gold 1990). The court found that there were doubts whether the procedure that was prohibited was important to secure health of women as a consequence of prior decisions of the court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade cases. Previously, the court had given federal and state legislatures freedom to determine and pass legislation in scientific and medical areas where there was uncertainty. President Bush signed the Abortion Outlaw Act 2003 into law (Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, 2003). The American District Courts for Southern District, California Northern District, and Nebraska District found it unconstitutional. The federal government first brought Carhart v. Gonzales (550 U.S. (2007, April 18)) before premier court judges of the United States and appealed district court rulings in part of the Eighth Circuit.

The panel affirmed unanimously the ruling of the Nebraska court of 2005. The government did not offer new evidence that would serve to distinguish the record reviewed by the Supreme Court and other records. The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was held unconstitutional since it lacked specialty concerning the well-being of a woman (Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, 2003). There was a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court by Attorney General Gonzales to review the Eighth Circuit decision of 2005. The Second Circuit was done with a dissent since the Ninth Circuit also found the law unconstitutional and they issued opinions in 2006. The Supreme Court heard the Carhart case in 2006 and the judges also agreed to hear the Planned Parenthood case in 2006.

Impact of Abortion Case on Society

Gonzales v. Carhart, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey cases have all had a great effect on the rights of women and American society. They have affirmed the reproductive rights and privacy rights of individuals and couples. Moreover, they have also had a dramatic effect on the political scene. The 2008 presidential election was the main example of the impact of abortion cases since the candidate would have the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court Judges who could influence the rights of millions of Americans (Greenhouse 1994). The Supreme Court’s decisions would affect Americans by ruling on reproductive, privacy, and religious rights, as well as their environmental and occupational protections. Analysis of the Ninth Amendment was an issue at hand that influenced every American. Pro-choice, pro-life, or undecided, the Constitution interpretation has, therefore, embraced the right to privacy, hence the right to abortion. The biggest concerns included increasing state efforts to control the availability and legality of abortions and changes in the number of judges in the Court with the possibility of others joining them. Moreover, other cases that were pending in the Court involved congressionally-established limitations on the availability of abortions due in the term (Gold 1990). TheHuman Rights Watch was more active in helping women obtain abortions in emergency situations than protecting women.

The Freedom of Choice Act was among the strongest pro-abortion pieces of legislation passed in 2004. It supported precedents such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Roe v. Wade (1973), and Gonzales v. Carhart. However, there are still legislation acts place that denied access to abortion by women. The Hyde Amendment that prohibited state funding of abortions with exclusion for rape, incest, and danger to life of a woman was passed in 1976. Reference to the right to privacy in the Ninth Amendment remained effective and impacted life in America and all over the world. Americans have seen protection of rights that they have never thought existed because of the broad language of the Ninth Amendment. Liberty rights, as well as the right to privacy have been included in the vague Ninth Amendment language in order not to explicitly include them in the Bill of Rights, but to protect those rights. Although rights in the Ninth Amendment have been held strong in the past forty to fifty years, there may be considerable problems in the future. The control of the Supreme Court over issues concerns the fact that every American should be educated about the right to privacy that affects all people in the United States. People have control to determine which direction the country goes and the topic should not be taken lightly.

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Improvement of Women’s Well-being

Abortion was so unsafe in 1965 that all deaths that resulted from childbirth and pregnancy occurred because of unlawful abortion (Gold 1990). A certain percent of women who opted for legal abortions experienced complication. Chances of death after abortion increased with the pregnancy length ranging from one death out of million abortions from vacuum aspiration at eight weeks to eight deaths after the gestation of twenty weeks. The mortality rate of mothers in America was twelve deaths in hundreds of live births in 2007, a vital difference in mortality rates of mothers between carrying pregnancy to term and terminating pregnancy by abortion. Chances of death from abortion medication at the gestation of sixty-three days were about one per hundred thousand methods. The risk of death from miscarriage was about one per hundred thousand and the risk of death from childbirth was about fourteen times higher than risks associated with abortion. The ability to make a decision concerning personal well-being has also empowered women to accomplish employment and educational opportunities that were impossible before the Roe v. Wade (410 United States 113 (1973)) case.

The Supreme Court concluded in 1992 that the potential of women to take part equally in the country socially and economically was made possible by the ability to influence their reproductive lives (Planned Parenthood v. Casey 1992). The author of Roe, Justice Harry Blackmun, suggested that the resolution was a step toward full liberation of women that had to be taken.

American Traditions Changed Due to Court Ruling

Roe v. Wade in 1973 also reflected a change in America in regard to laws associated with abortion. A countrywide effort to change abortion laws that saw it as a crime in almost every state was under way by the late 1960s. Advocates of women’s rights, health care providers, legal groups, and clergy members lobbied the legislature of the state and went to court to nullify the statutes that had been in power for centuries. State legislatures proceeded to outlaw abortion and many laws had existed since 1800s despite the country’s history of allowing abortion since time immemorial. Four states, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, and New York, abolished abortion laws between 1960 and 1970, while thirteen others passed few reforms. Even before Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Roe v. Wade, and Gonzales v. Carhart cases were decided, abortion laws that led to crime challenging lawsuits had started to work in more than twelve states.

Constitutional Rights

The Supreme Court found in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Roe v. Wade, and Gonzales v. Carhart cases that the right of a woman deserved to be protected, especially by the Constitution, regardless of the woman’s decision whether to become a parent or not.  The court did not confirm acknowledgment of the right to privacy and that the state had interests that were valid in protecting future life and safeguarding well-being of a mother. The interest of the state was to protect health of the mother and interest in the future life was not forced until growth. Moreover, it did not refer to the second trimester of the gestation period, a point at which a fetus can survive when born. The state could stop abortion after the second trimester, except in case it was important to safeguard life or well-being of a woman.

Abortion Rights

The U.S. Supreme Court declared its decision on January 22, 1973, solving a problem that made abortion a crime unless life of a woman was at stake according to the Texas Statute. The ability of a woman to perform abortion depended on economic status, place of residence, and race. Poor women turned to self-abortion that was dangerous, for example, inserting coat hangers into vagina or inserting knitting needles into uterus. Most women were subjected to shame, fear, and desperation caused by criminalization of abortion. Jane Roe, a spinster, filed the case because she wanted to terminate her pregnancy legally and safely. Siding with Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)),the court nullified the Texas law. The court accepted in its ruling for the first time that the constitutional right to privacy was to incorporate a decision of a woman whether to end her pregnancy or to carry it to full term.

Roe v. Wade came to be known as the case that legalized abortion in most countries. The decision was handed down at the time when all states prohibited abortion, except for some reasons such as preserving well-being of a woman, saving life of a woman, or cases of incest, rape, or fetal abnormality (Gold 1990). Gonzales v. Carhart, Roe v. Wade, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey cases rendered abortion laws unconstitutional, making abortion services more accessible and safer to women in the country. The decision also placed a legal precedent that involved restrictions on access to abortion and it affected more than thirty subsequent Supreme Court cases.

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The Right to Choose Abortion Undermined

Abortion rivals urged federal and state lawmakers to pass laws against abortion immediately after Roe v. Wade case was decided.  The Supreme Court was frequently requested over the next thirty years to determine whether many cases of abortion statutes violated privacy rights of women.  The court encouraged young women and women with low income to carry out abortions without limitations as restrictions in many cases were found unconstitutional in the 1970s. Federal and state bans upheld funding of services involving abortion as young women were required to tell parents when carrying out abortion or obtaining consent of a parent. Changes in the court makeup resulted in more restrictions of the right of a woman to choose whether to abort a fetus or not.  Despite sticking to the same law in Gonzales v. Carhart and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, thesecases were in court for seven years.

The first federal legislation to overrule abortion as a crime upheld a five-to-four decision. The Abortion Ban Act that concerned a partial birthright of 2003 made it crime in America to perform an abortion during the second trimester and it did not make the exclusion for the preservation of well-being of a woman like in Roe v. Wade (410 U.S. 113 (1973)). The ban prohibited intentionally and deliberately vaginal delivery of a living fetus with specific anatomical landmarks with a view to accomplishing an unconcealed act to eliminate a living fetus that was partially delivered, which a person was aware of. The court effectively overruled a key part, which it had earlier affirmed, that the physical state of a woman would be the most important issue in laws promoting limited access to abortion. 

The Supreme Court permitted Congress to ban specific second-trimester abortion methods. It also withdrew a central rule that major medical organizations, doctors, and gynecologists, including obstetricians, were the best and safest means to protect the mental and physical health of a woman. Ruth Bader Ginsburg elaborated in disagreement in Gonzales v. Carhart and Casey v. Planned Parenthood cases that the court did not change any of the due patterns directly. The decision was disturbing because for the first time since the Court ruled in Roe v. Wade case judges upheld a prohibition with no exclusion for saving the health of a woman. In addition to Gonzales v. Carhart and Planned Parenthood v. Casey cases, the court took an extensive method that would warrant abortion limitations for the state interests.  Results of these resolutions are still seen in court.


American presidential election of 2004 left abortion advocates stunned. President George W. Bush won re-election convincingly despite having abandoned all restrictions. James Pinkerton maintained that the rest had aborted, birth-controlled, and gay-lobbed themselves into a minority in the American society. Abortions amongst liberals had everything to do with fertility rates. It has been estimated that there have been over forty million abortions since its legalization. The effects of Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, and Gonzales v. Carhart cases were felt in voting since over eighteen million people were eligible to vote in the 2004 election and they were influenced by their parents. James Taranto wrote that abortion would make the American population more conventional than it had been thought. Democratic and liberal women were likely to perform abortions. Besides, the political views of children tend to reflect those of their parents though not exactly and not in every case. Thus, abortion has eventually made people more traditional and depleted liberals in the generation to come. According to Planned Parenthood v. Casey, people with strong moral views who opposed abortion have more children than people who advocate for abortion and have fewer children. As children grow up, they are likely to be affected by the views of their parents and also object to abortion. Their numbers are likely to gradually increase as they mature and they may opt to vote for politicians who respect traditional family values. It can be predicted by sociologists, as well as by adversaries of abortion that there will be a culture change toward abortion limitations.

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