Faculty of European Studies,
American Studies, second year
ROE v. WADE
410 U. S. 113 (1973)
Prof Coordinator:Student: Adela
Horatiu Damian Marina
Year: 2007 - 2008
Roe v. Wade is one of the most controversial and politically significant cases in U.S. Supreme Court history. This case resulted in a landmark decision regarding abortion. The parties involved were: the plaintiff- Jane Roe( Norma L. McCorvey) a single woman who was residing in Dallas County, Texas, James Hubert Hallford- physician, John and Mary Doe, a married couple and the defendant: - Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, representing the State of Texas.
Articles 1191-1194 and 1196 of the State's Penal Code make it a crime to "procure an abortion," as therein defined, or to attempt one, except with respect to "an abortion procured or attempted by medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother." England’s first criminal abortion statute came in 1803. It made abortion of a quick fetus , 1, a capital crime, but in 2 it provided lesser penalties for the felony of abortion before quickenig- which is the first recognizable movement of the fetus in uretro, appearing usually from the 16th to the 18th week of pregnancy, and thus preserved the quickening distinction. Jane Roe was an unmarried and pregnant woman who wished to terminate her pregnancy by an abortion "performed by a competent, licensed physician, under safe, clinical conditions"; she claimed that she was unable to get a "legal" abortion in Texas because her life did not appear to be threatened by the continuation of her pregnancy; and that she could not afford to travel to another jurisdiction in order to secure a legal abortion under safe conditions.1 James Hubert Hallford, a licensed physician, sought and was granted leave to intervene in Roe's action. John and Mary Doe, a married couple, filed a companion complaint to that of Roe. They also named the District Attorney as defendant, claimed like constitutional deprivations, and sought declaratory and injunctive relief.
Jane Roe instituted a federal action in March 1970 against the District Attorney of the county. She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face, and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes. A three-judge District Court ruled in Roe’s favor, but refused to grant an injunction against the enforcement of the laws barring abortion. The court held that Roe and members of her class, and Dr. Hallford, had standing to sue and presented justiciable controversies, but that the Does had failed to allege facts sufficient to state a present controversy, and did not have standing. It concluded that, with respect to the requests for a declaratory judgment, abstention was not warranted. On the merits, the District Court held that the fundamental right of single women and married persons to choose whether to have children is protected by the Ninth Amendment, through the Fourteenth Amendment, and that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were void on their face because they were both unconstitutionally vague and constituted an overbroad infringement of the plaintiffs' Ninth Amendment rights. The court then held that abstention was warranted with respect to the requests for an injunction. It therefore dismissed the Does' complaint, declared the abortion statutes void, and dismissed the application for injunctive relief. The plaintiffs Roe and Doe and the intervenor Hallford, have appealed to this Court from that part of the District Court's judgment denying the injunction. Roe...