Text of Roe v. Wade
Text of Doe v. Bolton
Analysis: what Roe and Doe decided
This penetrating analysis argues that Roe, which did not consider the central
constitutional question of the rights of the unborn, was merely the first
decision in the coming development of constitutional law relating to the unborn.
It traces the parallels to the abortion question in the legal controversy
over child labor, workers' rights, slavery, colonialism, and the exploitation
of native Americans, and the legal resolution of these issues. The constitutional
resolution of the abortion question can only happen via the kind of leaps
made in the decisions recognizing the state's interest in safeguarding workers'
rights, equal educational access (desegregation), and preventing child labor.
Bob Woodward, The Washington Post, January 22, 1989
Ever since the Supreme Court issued its controversial
abortion decision, Roe v. Wade, 16 years ago today, many legal scholars
and millions of other critics have cried foul. They have argued that the
court was legislating social policy and exceeding its authority as the interpreter,
not the maker, of law.
New evidence has now surfaced that some of the justices
who wrote and supported the opinion were doing precisely that, in at least
part of the decision. The opinion's author, Justice Harry A. Blackmun, said
in one internal court memo that he was drawing "arbitrary" lines about the
times during pregnancy when a woman could legally receive an abortion. In
another memo, Justice Potter Stewart, who joined the Blackmun opinion, said
the determination in the opinion about these lines was "legislative."
Houston Chronicle piece traces
the parallels between Roe v. Wade
and the Dred
Scott decision which ruled that African-Americans were not persons.
Like Dred Scott, Roe was handed down in the name of an individual
right. Roger Taney's decision in Dred Scott was based on the Fifth
Amendment's guarantee that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or
property without due process of law. Justice Blackmun based Roe on
a vague right of privacy nowhere spelled out in the Constitution.
Amicus brief filed in the cases of Loce v. New Jersey
and Krail et al. v. New Jersey, February 1994
America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v.
Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted
mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence
and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. Human
rights are not a privilege conferred by government. They are every human
being's entitlement by virtue of his humanity. The right to life does not
depend, and must not be declared contingent, on the pleasure of anyone else,
not even a parent or a sovereign.
Mark Tushnet, from Abortion, Medicine, and the Law, Third
A legal summary explaining how the 1973 Abortion cases (Roe vs.
Wade and Doe vs. Bolton) legalized abortion on demand for the
full nine months of pregnancy. Also documents some of how the national media
has correctly and incorrectly reported this fact.
by Charles R. Kesler, The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 22, 1998
In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the plurality opinion defended Roe not because it is right
but because it is there and cannot be conveniently removed. The court actually
did say, with studied ambiguity: "We conclude that the basic decision in
Roe was based on a constitutional analysis which we cannot now repudiate."
Even if they wanted to . . . Such a strange, pusillanimous argument, which
would have served equally well to protect the infamous 19th century cases
upholding slavery and segregation, Dred Scott and Plessy vs. Ferguson, will
probably not last into the new century.
by Clifford Stevens, Omaha World Herald, September 8, 2000
In American jurisprudence, the destruction of the unborn is looked upon as
"justifiable," an extension of the personal liberty of the woman bearing the
child. One cannot help but feel, in light of the mammoth steps American
jurisprudence has taken in the 20th century, becoming in so may ways the
benefactor of the world, that some social cancer is gnawing at the entrails
of American law, a cancer that cannot see that survival of the fittest is not
the founding principle of American democracy... Law itself can be
described as protection for the weak and helpless, since the strong and
prosperous have their own means of protection.
Analysis of the legal reasoning used to uphold the decision in recent Supreme
|German abortion decision: a contrast
to Roe v. Wade -- the later German decision explicitly recognizes the
right to life.