Roe v. Wade is the historic Supreme Court decision overturning a Texas interpretation of abortion law and making abortion legal in the United States. The Roe v. Wade decision held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in earlier months of pregnancy without legal restriction, and with restrictions in later months, based on the right to privacy.
Date of the Roe v. Wade decision
January 22, 1973.
Effect of the Roe v. Wade decision:
Basis of the Roe v. Wade decision:
Acceptable government regulation according to Roe v. Wade:
- In the first trimester, the state (that is, any government) could treat abortion only as a medical decision, leaving medical judgment to the woman's physician.
- In the second trimester (before viability), the state's interest was seen as legitimate when it was protecting the health of the mother.
- After viability of the fetus (the likely ability of the fetus to be able to survive outside and separated from the uterus), the potential of human life could be considered as a legitimate state interest, and the state could choose to "regulate, or even proscribe abortion" as long as the life and health of the mother was protected.
Who Roe and Wade were:
Who argued the case:
Who voted for and against the Roe v. Wade decision:
Where to read the whole Roe v. Wade decision:
More on Roe v. Wade:
- Abortion History - a history of the controversy over abortion in the United States
- History of restrictive abortion laws in the United States, as summarized in the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1973
- Roe v. Wade - text of the Supreme Court decision, 1973, with opinions written by Justices Blackmun, Stewart, Rehnquist, Burger, Douglas and White.
- Abortion in the Ancient and Premodern World
- Birth Control Movement - history of contraceptives
- More resources on abortion and reproductive rights history