Citation. 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 .Ed.2d 147 (1973).
Brief Fact Summary.
Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of a Texas law which criminalized abortion.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy is protected by the right to privacy under the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
Plaintiff challenged the constitutionality of a Texas statute which criminalized abortion except with respect to an abortion procured for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. Similar statutes existed in the majority of states at the time as well.
Whether a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is recognized by the Constitution.
Yes. A woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy is recognized by the Constitution. It is protected by a fundamental right of privacy inherent in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment.
I am troubled that the Court has taken notice of various scientific and medical data in reaching its conclusion, however, do not believe the Court has exceeded its scope of judicial notice.
The dissenting views discount the reality that physicians act only on the basis of carefully deliberated medical judgements related to life and health.
Many rights not explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights come within the meaning of the term” liberty” as used in the 14th Amendment, including autonomous control over one’s intellect, marriage, divorce, procreation, etc.
The statute is overbroad because it equates the value of embryonic life immediately after conception with the worth of life immediately before birth.
Abortion is a privacy right within the scope of personal liberty guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. This Court has previously recognized the right of privacy under the Constitution. It is a right broad enough to encompass a woman’s right to choose whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. To deny a woman this right could cause severe mental, physical, and psychological harm.
This right, however, is not absolute and can be regulated by legislation addressing the state’s compelling interests in the mother’s health and safety and the potentiality of human life. The “compelling” point is at the point of viability. This is because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother’s womb. The unborn have never been recognized in the law as persons in a whole sense.
During the first trimester, the state may not regulate the abortion decision. During the second trimester, the state may impose regulations reasonably related to maternal health. In the third trimester, after the point of viability is reached, a state may regulate the abortion or prohibit it entirely so long as prohibition contains exceptions for the health of the mother. The Texas statute makes no distinction as to pre-viability and thus cannot survive constitutional attack.