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History of abortion in the Court

Uploaded by Admin on Dec 15, 1999

Abortion. The word alone provokes strong emotion in both women and men alike. Roe v. Wade was decided twenty five years ago, but still the fight is not over. Instead, there are mass rallies, bombings of abortion clinics, murders of doctors and workers at such clinics, intimidation, arrest, political lobbying, and numerous Supreme Court cases. What is it that divides families, and keeps old friends from speaking to one another on the topic? Why are opinions so polarized and why are minds so closed? As the great philosopher Plato said, "A perfectly simple principle can never be applied to a state of things which is the reverse of simple". The topic of abortion is anything but simple, and our laws governing the matter are ever changing to try to achieve a middle ground. In the late nineteenth century a specific backward law was added in Connecticut. It banned not the sale or manufacture of contraceptives but their use. The Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, Griswold, and its medical director, a licensed physician, were convicted under the statute as an accessory after they gave advice to married couples on contraception. Griswold appealed the statute to the Supreme Court, where the question was whether the statue violated the Constitution. The Court was convinced that it did, though it refused to become specific about what clause of the Bill of Rights it violated. The court drew notice to a "zone of privacy", which was an emanation created by various amendments. This "zone" grew out of the right to privacy implicit in the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. The Ninth Amendment also hints at its existence when it says that the enumeration of specific rights does not preclude the existence of other rights enumerated. With Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479 (1965), the Court established that married couples have a "Right to Privacy" as a prenumbra to the Bill of Rights. Seven years after the Griswold decision, the Supreme Court expanded the "right to privacy" to include the right of women to obtain abortions, during the first six months of pregnancy. Roe was blocked, by the laws of Texas, from obtaining an abortion, because Texas law prohibited abortion except to save the life of the mother. Citing the Griswold case, she appealed to the Supreme Court, charging that the Texas statute was an unconstitutional restriction of her "right to privacy". By a...

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   12/15/1999

Category:   Abortion

Length:   7 pages (1,585 words)

Views:   2390

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