no violence period: New Perspectives on Abortion


A Consistent Life Ethic

· Nat Hentoff on Abortion
· Abortion and the American Left

Abortion and the Media

Roe v. Wade

Full list of articles

Roe vs. Wade - Bob Woodward, Mother Theresa, and others on the Roe v. Wade decision

Roe vs. Wade

29 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision whose legal effect was to forbid state legislatures from passing laws that consider the unborn as persons. Following are some unconventional analyses as well as background information to help in analyzing the decision.

Those who say we must learn to live with it still don't get it. Ultimately, Roe cannot survive alongside our enduring, unshakable sense of justice. It is no more permanent than any other act of human arrogance. It is no more unchangeable than the laws which sent Dred Scott back to his master. -- Governor Bob casey


Text of Roe v. Wade
Text of Doe v. Bolton
Analysis: what Roe and Doe decided

Highlights from The Rights of the Unborn: The Constitutional Challenge to Roe v. Wade

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.

The Abortion Papers

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."

Harry Blackmun, our own Roger Taney

Paul Greenberg

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.

Mother Teresa's Letter to the US Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade

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.

The Supreme Court on Abortion: A Survey

Mark Tushnet, from Abortion, Medicine, and the Law, Third Edition

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.

Roe vs. Wade: 25 years later:A decision greatly undermined

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.

Law Protects the Weak

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.

The Illogic of the Casey stare decisis Analysis

Analysis of the legal reasoning used to uphold the decision in recent Supreme Court Cases.

German abortion decision: a contrast to Roe v. Wade -- the later German decision explicitly recognizes the right to life.