Roe v. Wade and the right to privacy

Case Studies & Research
New York
Center for Reproductive Rights
107 p.

In the 1973 landmark case Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court applied the core constitutional principle of privacy and liberty to a woman’s ability to terminate a pregnancy. In Roe, the Court held that the constitutional right to privacy includes a woman’s right to decide whether to have an abortion. This booklet is an attempt to put Roe into its historical and legal context: to demonstrate that this decision not only grew out of the country’s tradition of individual liberty - that is, of placing key personal and moral decisions in the hands of individuals, rather than the government - but is also part of a larger global trend of recognizing women’s human rights. In addition, by excerpting key portions of the majority opinion in this case, this booklet attempts to clear up some common misconceptions about what the case did or did not do.

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