Roe vs Wade

by Hannah Mansfield

Basic Facts

Roe, a single pregnant woman, brought a case challenging the constitutionality of the Texas abortion laws, which made it a crime to get an abortion unless it was to save the mother’s life, with District Attorney Wade as the defendant. Roe won and the district court held that the Texas abortion statutes were void as vague and for violating the ninth and fourteenth amendments.

The Issues on the Table

  • These issues violated the ninth and fourteenth amendments by taking away a woman’s right to her own body. The main issues presented in this case were whether abortion laws that criminalize abortion violate the constitution, does the Due Process Clause of the fourteenth amendment protect the right to privacy, including the right to get an abortion, and if there are there any circumstances where a state may enact laws prohibiting abortion. Penumbra is the rights guaranteed by implication in the constitution or the implied powers of a rule.


This case created a new right in the constitution for a woman to have the right of privacy to decide whether or not to have an abortion.

Historic Significance

Roe v Wade gave women more rights and was a win for feminists, it also caused a backlash from anti-feminists and conservatives. It’s considered a landmark because women gained a right to their own body and it has been a controversial issue ever since.

Significance Today

This case definitely has modern relevance, people still debate it and many believe that it should be illegal. Such people protest outside clinics with signs and sometimes even violence. There are also calls for laws prohibiting anti-abortion protests because they so often become violent or harassment.

Future Significance

In the future it seems like the verdict will still hold and abortion will remain legal. Hopefully women will also gain more rights to their body and the violent harassment outside of clinics will end.
Roe v. Wade in PBS' The Supreme Court