What is Roe Vs Wade?

roe vs wade

If you don’t live under a rock then you have surely heard about the Roe v. Wade legal case, however not a lot of people know about it completely.  In this article we are going to look at the basics of Roe v. Wade and what makes it one of the most popular legal battles of all time

Roe V. Wade is a legal case ruled on january 22, 1973 that stated that an unnecessary restriction of abortion by the state is unconstituional.

A lot of experts believe that criminalising abortion in states like Taxes voilates a womans constitutinal right of privacy. The fourteen amendment of the constitution implies a persons right to life, liberty and property, the abortion restrictions messes that up. 


This case started in 1970 with a woman named Jane Roe (a fictional name) who seeked federal action against Henry Wade, district attorney of Dallas county, Texas. Dallas is also where Roe lived. The Supreme Court did not agree with Roe’s contention that her having the absolute right to terminate pregnancy has anything to do with a woman’s right of privacy. This started an age old debate of what is the potential life of a fetus and health of the pregnant woman fits into a legal framework. The court seeked to define “meaningful life outside of the mothers womb” which was settled at 24 weeks of pregnancy. From 1973 the scope of Roe v, Wade Narrowed. Lets back up a second, the woman who started all of this Jane Roe was actually called Norma McCorvey, she wanted to abort her third child and misunderstood the existing abortion laws of Dallas, the illegal facilty that perfomed abortions had closed down so she ended up at an attorneys office to seek action. Norma would end up giving birth before the case was decided upon, the child was put up for adoption.

Abrotion is a type of birth control that has a cultural impact on its existence. By the year 1900 most American states had made abirtion illegal. Criminalistion of abortion and patients made things quite tricky for its citizens. By the year 1965  deaths related to illegal abortions made up one-sixth of all pregnancy related deaths. The actual number of these deaths has been said to be much higher. Women with low income or women coming from marganalised identities were more likely to die from an abortion related mishapp.

Current Status of Roe v. Wade

An abortion ban that became a full fleged law in 2003 was upheld by the supreme court in 2007, this law crimanilises abortion procdures in the second trimestor of pregnancy, it is on the grounds of protecting the pregnant womans health. Some states gave this abortion ban or other similar trigger laws from before Roe v. Wade. Some states are more hostile than others in terms of dealing with this ban. Planned Parenhood is an organisation that provides you more information on how to seek safe and legal abortion in your area and county, however this orgnisation is also attacked by policy and legal framework that has touched the dispute of Roe v. Wade. From 2011 to 2020 different states have enacted 480 aborion related restrictions, making it over ⅓ of restrictions passed by states since 1973. The laws seek to penalise and shame people seeking abortion.

Some of the abortion bans are said to be dangours for women but over the years it has become more of a political debate than a debate that once covered the life and liberty of a woman. Anytime we see a debate on Roe V. Wade, the fourteen amendment is rarely even mentioned, it is one of the hot topics during elections be it state or presidential.


It is a divisive debate for sure, however over time the only thing that both sides agree on is that judges and governments should not take fundamental decisions for their citizens. With the new administration settling in, the previous laws are yet to be examined with the new lens. Hope this clears out your doubts about Roe v. Wade, it is a recurring theme for elections and debates and the more information we have on it the better. 

Written by Abhishek

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