Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), a landmark case decided by the United States Supreme Court on the issue of abortion, is one of the most controversial and politically significant cases in U.S. Supreme Court history.
The court issued its decision on January 22, 1973, with a 7 to 2 majority vote in favor of McCorvey. Burger and Douglas' concurring opinion and White's dissenting opinion were issued separately, in the companion case of Doe v. Bolton.
The Roe Court deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution, thereby subjecting all laws attempting to restrict it to the standard of strict scrutiny. Although abortion is still considered a fundamental right, subsequent cases, notably Planned Parenthood v. Casey, Stenberg v. Carhart, and Gonzales v. Carhart have affected the legal standard.
The opinion of the Roe Court, written by Justice Harry Blackmun, declined to adopt the district court's Ninth Amendment rationale, and instead asserted that the "right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment's concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment's reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman's decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy." Douglas, in his concurring opinion from the companion case Doe v. Bolton, stated more emphatically that, "The Ninth Amendment obviously does not create federally enforceable rights." Thus, the Roe majority rested its opinion squarely on the Constitution's due process clause.
The majority opinion is organized into twelve sections preceded by a brief preface; the first four sections provide background. Section I briefly outlines the challenged Texas abortion statutes. Section II characterizes the factual and procedural backgrounds of Jane Roe's and Mary Doe's litigation, including the District Court's rulings regarding the procedural questions (here,...