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Roe v. Wade

Law Dictionary
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Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Constitutional Law Keyed to Sullivan

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 410 U.S. 959; 93 S. Ct. 1409;35 L. Ed. 2d 694; 1973 U.S.

Brief Fact Summary. A Texas law criminalizing abortion except where the procedure is necessary to “save the life of the mother” and without regard to the state of pregnancy was found by the Supreme Court of the United States to violate due process.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The right of privacy protects a married or unmarried woman’s liberty to choose an abortion, but this right must be considered against important state interests in regulation such as the stage of the pregnancy.


Facts. A Texas law criminalized the procurement of an abortion except by “medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.” The challengers are a single pregnant woman, Ms. Roe, a childless couple, the wife not pregnant, Mr. and Mrs. Doe, and a licensed physician, Dr. Hallford. Suits by Ms. Roe and the Doe’s were class actions. The three-judge district court ruled the Doe’s complaint non-justiciable, but granted declaratory relief to Appellants Ms. Roe and Dr. Hallford, holding the law unconstitutional.

Issue. Whether the Texas statute improperly invades the right of a pregnant woman to choose to terminate her pregnancy.
Whether a fetus is a “person” within the language and meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Whether the pregnant woman can be isolated in her privacy.
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