what is roe v. wade?
In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade recognized that the decision whether to continue or end a pregnancy belongs to the individual, not the government. In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ruling there is no constitutional right to abortion. This marks the first time in history that the Supreme Court has taken away a fundamental right.
In 1973, a Texas law prohibited abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother. Is the right to decide whether to continue a pregnancy protected by the Constitution?
The Supreme Court struck down Texas’s criminal ban on abortion and held that the right to abortion is a “fundamental right.” In the 7–2 opinion, the Court held that, along with decisions relating to marriage, contraception, education, and family relationships, the decision about whether to continue or end a pregnancy is fundamental to “personal liberty.” Before viability, it is a pregnant person’s decision—not the government’s—whether to continue a pregnancy.
The 2022 decision came from Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case challenging Mississippi’s ban on abortion, brought on behalf of the only remaining abortion clinic in the state. Mississippi appealed to the Supreme Court after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal district court ruling that granted a permanent injunction against the ban.