Roe v. Wade overruled, Dobs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. is the new law
The Abortion law in the United States and around the world has been in the talks lately, the decision of the US Supreme Court in Dobs v. Jackson Women’s Health Org. overturned the well-known Roe v. Wade case which granted pregnant women the right to procure abortion.
Nearly five decades ago, the historic judgment altered the course of history. However, the recent reversal of the case brought about a significant uproar among feminist organizations. The evangelical Christian rejoices over the choice.
The world is a changing place where people thought about liberty and freedom. Abortion is one of the talks where the opinions of the people are split. There are people who think that the choice of procuring abortion must always be free as a woman has a right over her body. while the second opinion talks about the potential life growing within the womb.
That means no person has the right to kill innocent life. It is the state’s interest to protect the viable fetus. There is a third group who had mixed opinions. They talk about the freedom and right to choose but also grow to discuss the life which is yet to be born. The opinion marks them differently so does the world.
Abortion was illegal throughout the history of the United States but this judgment in 1973 made it a right for women to procure it. The Fourteenth Amendment was explained and defined as having the concept of abortion in a broad perspective. But with the recent overturn of Dobs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization the situation is all changed.
The course-changing decision needs to be understood from its initial points. Roe v. Wade & Parenthood Planning v. Casey were the cases that liberalized the feminist approaches which talked about women’s rights. The pro-abortion ruling paved the way for the approach while the conservative approach in Dobs v. Jackson made it hard for the feminist approach to the coup.
Roe v. wade
Roe v. Wade is between 22 years old-lady Jane Roe (listed name of the plaintiff, Norma McCorvey) and the Dallas County (Texas) district attorney at the time, Henry Wade. This case law struck down laws that made abortion illegal which proscribe procuring or attempting an abortion except on medical advice for the purpose of saving the mother’s life.
The Appellant brought a class action suit challenging the constitutionality of the Texas Statute and sought an injunction against the district attorney Henry Wade from enforcing it. The appellant alleges that she was pregnant and unmarried. And she can not go for the abortion legally as her life was not threatened.
Also, she can not afford to move to another jurisdiction for a legal abortion. She asserted that the Texas Statute is constitutionally vague and abridges her right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments.
The court ruled that the Texas Statute is void for being constitutionally vague. The appellant has the right to choose to have children under the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments. The court granted declaratory relief but for an injunction.
The appellant appealed against the denial of the injunction. The respondent also cross-appealed against the declaratory relief. Both the parties appealed to the US Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit which stayed the appeal pending the decision of the court.
The judgment was delivered by the 9 judges bench in a 7-2 opinion wherein the majority decision was delivered by Justice Blackmun. Justice Stewart filed a concurring opinion while Justice Rehnquist rendered a dissenting opinion. The court discussed the two-point discussion on why abortion laws were criminalized in history.
The points were:
- The state’s interest in protecting pregnant women from hazardous medical procedures and maintaining health and safety standards. It determines the state’s interest in protecting the pregnant woman at the later stages of pregnancy.
- The state’s interest in protecting the per-natal life as there is potential life involved. The state could assert its interest in the protection of life beyond the pregnant woman.
The court opined that while the right to privacy is not explicitly mentioned in the constitution such a right is recognized by the court. The right to personal privacy and the zone of privacy exists under the constitution within the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The opinion was that it is enough for a woman to choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or not.
Further, the court opined that the right to privacy is not absolute. It held that the state could enforce its legitimate interest in safeguarding maternal health and maintaining safe and healthy medical standards and in preserving potential life. As a woman approaches term it became compelling for the state to maintain procedures for the safeguard and the protection of women and their potential life.
The court also rejected the respondent’s claim that Fourteenth Amendment recognized a fetus as a person which means the state has an interest in protecting it. It wholly determines the law does not consider the unborn fetus as a person.
Finally, the court in its judgment held that the woman has the right to privacy but it is not absolute. The state has interests that need to be enforced to some extent. In the opinion of the majority, the woman has the right to procure an abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.
But at the end of the first trimester, the state regulates abortion to the extent of physicians’ advice and to protect maternal health. while when the fetus becomes viable, the state could assert its interest in protecting the potential life. And also proscribe abortion.
In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the court affirmed the decision of Roe v. Wade but outlawed the trimester ruling, in which the court held that before the viability of a fetus, a woman has the right to procure an abortion.
In Dobs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, The Court held that the constitution does not confer a right to abortion within it. The previous judgments on abortion are overruled. The authority which regulates abortion is returned to the people of the nation and their elected representatives.