Right of Privacy Pertaining to Abortion

Pages: 5 (1844 words) Published: January 15, 2014
The right of privacy pertaining to abortion is not specifically stated in the constitution although in varying contexts the Court Justices have indeed, found at least the roots of that right in the first, fourth, fifth, and ninth amendments, and in the concept of liberty guaranteed by the fourteenth amendment. The whole concept of right of privacy and the controversy surrounding it stems from the decision in the U.S. Supreme Court Case of Roe vs. Wade in 1973. In March of the year 1970 a single woman by the name of Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe) challenged the Texas abortion laws that make it a crime to procure an abortion unless the abortion is medically advised for the purpose of saving the life of the mother. She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statues were unconstitutional and an injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes. These criminal abortion laws were originally put in place because of three reasons that had up to this point justified their continued existence. The first reason was a product of Victorian social concern to discourage illicit sexual conduct. A second reason was the danger of the abortion procedure. Laws were put in place to protect a pregnant mother from this dangerous process. The third reason is the protection of prenatal life. It was believed that a new human life is present from the moment of conception. Norma McCorvey challenged all of this when she ignited the debate over right of privacy and if it applied to abortion in the U.S. Constitution.

These Texas state abortion laws were said to be in violation of both the first and fourth amendments. The first amendment applied to the laws because they were made with an establishment of religion. The first amendment gives people the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It was argued that if people have the right to liberty or believing in any religion they want than why are they forced to follow state laws that are constructed under a certain religion’s beliefs? This was one aspect that worked in Norma McCorvey’s favor. The fourth amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. An argument was set forth by a Justice that if a state was to impede on a woman who wanted to receive an abortion, that it was an unreasonable seizure against her privacy. Both of these amendments may have not played as significant a role as the fourteenth amendment but they both added to Norma’s case.

Both the fifth and ninth amendments also played roles in the decision of Roe vs. Wade. The fifth amendment to the constitution addresses the modern term of the “right to remain silent”, in addition to the prevention of the unlawful and unethical abuse of power undertaken by a governing body. This applied to the court case as Norma saw the Texas abortion laws as an infringement on her rights and that the government was abusing its power by enforcing such laws. The ninth amendment to the constitution disallows for the violation of civil liberties and unlawful expansion of governmental power. Norma McCorvey and some of the other justices present in the case felt her civil liberties were technically being broken by the enforcement of these unconstitutional laws by the government. The court case of Roe vs. Wade was decided upon none more so than the fourteenth amendment and especially how it was involved with a previous court case called Griswold vs. Connecticut. The fourteenth amendment was applied because of its due process clause. The justices involved with the court case looked into past cases to be able to shed some light on a verdict in Norma McCorvey’s case. Griswold vs. Connecticut was the case they based Roe vs. Wade off of. Griswold v. Connecticut involved a Connecticut law that prohibited the use of "any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purpose of preventing...
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