Happy birthday to Roe v. Wade!

Roe v. Wade, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion, turns 38 today.

The court ruled 7-2 in favor of Roe, extending the right to privacy clause in the 14th Amendment to a person’s choice to have an abortion. The ruling also indicated the right to an abortion must be balanced with the state’s interest to protect prenatal life and the mother’s health.

The crux of the Roe v. Wade decision is a person’s right to have an abortion until a fetus is viable, defined in the ruling as a fetus “potentially able to live outside the mother’s womb, albeit with artificial aid.” This is usually  at about seven months or 28 weeks.

Several states — Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota and South Dakota — have trigger laws that would automatically criminalize abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Other states did not repeal pre-1973 laws criminalizing abortion, which could be enforced if the decision is overturned.

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Nevada and Washington have statutes legalizing abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

Many states have skirted the ruling by imposing limitations on access to  abortions, such as requiring an ultrasound of the fetus or parental permission before performing the procedure for minors.

There is currently legislation in the Ohio House to ban all abortions after 22 weeks — before the time a woman carrying a planned for and/or wanted pregnancy could find out if she faces complications or a fetal anomaly. NARAL Ohio is urging pro-choice Ohioans to tell the House this legislation is unacceptable by writing their representative.


6 thoughts on “Happy birthday to Roe v. Wade!

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