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Landmark U.S. Abortion Cases: Legal Turning Points



  Jan 23, 2024

Landmark U.S. Abortion Cases



Roe v. Wade (1973)

1. Jane Roe’s Identity: In the landmark case Roe v. Wade, “Jane Roe” was the pseudonym used by Norma McCorvey. She brought the case forward challenging the abortion laws.
2. State in Question: Norma McCorvey, under the pseudonym Jane Roe, sought an abortion in the state of Texas. At that time, Texas law prohibited abortions except to save the pregnant woman’s life.
3. Supreme Court Decision: The U.S. Supreme Court, in a historic decision, ruled that the U.S. Constitution generally protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion. This decision effectively legalized abortion across the United States and remains one of the most notable and controversial rulings in the Court’s history.

Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

1. Essential Holding Reaffirmed: In 1992, the Supreme Court case Planned Parenthood v. Casey reaffirmed the “essential holding” of Roe v. Wade. This case was crucial as it upheld the right to have an abortion. However, it also allowed states to impose certain restrictions on abortions as long as they did not impose an “undue burden” on the woman seeking an abortion.

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization (2022)

1. Overruling Roe and Casey: In 2022, the Supreme Court case Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. This ruling held that the Constitution of the United States does not confer a right to abortion, effectively allowing individual states to set their own abortion laws and regulations. This decision marked a significant shift in American legal and social history, reversing nearly 50 years of federal abortion rights established under Roe v. Wade.
These cases collectively represent the evolving nature of legal and societal views on abortion in the United States. Roe v. Wade established a woman’s right to choose an abortion, which was later affirmed but slightly modified by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. However, the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision has fundamentally changed the legal landscape, removing federal protection for abortion rights and returning the power to regulate abortions to individual states.

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