Describing Roe Vs Wade in Simple Terms

Roe Vs Wade in Simple Terms – Since the early 1970s, abortion has been one of the most controversial issues in the United States. The issue of abortion stirs up strong emotions on both sides of the debate.

Abortion opponents often frame the issue in terms of “murder.” They believe that all life starts at conception and that to terminate a pregnancy is to kill a defenseless human being. [1] Pro-choice advocates claim that women should be allowed to make medical decisions about their bodies, including abortion. [2] The debate over abortion has led to some changes in the procedure’s laws. 

After the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade in 1973, abortion was allowed throughout the country. However, this decision has faced many challenges, and laws governing abortion have fluctuated over the years.

Currently, there is no federal law banning abortion. However, some states have passed laws restricting or banning abortions. [3] Abortion laws always evolve, making it hard to stay abreast of recent changes.

Here is a quick rundown of what happened for those who may not be familiar with the case or need a refresher. 

Who was Jane Roe? 

The Roe in Roe v. Wade was not the person’s real name. The Supreme Court used a pseudonym for her to protect her privacy. Norma McCorvey, the woman who became Jane Roe, was 22 and unmarried when she became pregnant in 1969. [4] She wanted an abortion but could not get one in Texas, where she lived. So she sued, saying that the state’s law banning abortion violated her right to privacy. 

Who was Henry Wade? 

Henry Wade was a district attorney in Dallas County, Texas. After attending law school at U.T. (University of Texas), serving in the Navy, and joining the FBI, Wade was elected Dallas County prosecutor in 1950, a position he would hold for the next 36 years. [5] 

A Dallas County local by the alias “Roe” served Wade with legal documents in 1970. It was not because he had done anything to her. 

Since abortion was criminalized in the state where Wade served as sheriff, Roe intended to question both the legality of abortion and the prosecutor’s potential power to punish her for having an abortion.

A Pulitzer Prize winner for his work on the history of abortion and the right to privacy claims that when the judgment was announced, Wade “made no statements to the public” and “had never taken a personal interest” in the case, even though it “held his name.” However, Garrow claims that in his later years, he privately admitted that “abortion is justifiable” under some circumstances. 

How Did the Roe Vs. Wade Case Started? 

At the outset of what would become known as the Roe v. Wade case, a woman named Norma McCorvey (under the alias “Jane Roe”) sued Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. The state claimed that it was against the law to have an abortion. McCorvey argued that she should be able to get an abortion because it was her constitutional right to do so. The Supreme Court finally heard the appeal and upheld Roe’s validity, nullifying the Texas legislation.

In the Roe vs. Wade Case, what did the Supreme Court ultimately rule?

Roe v. Wade was a case the U.S. Supreme Court heard that resulted in a historic decision in 1973. The Court upheld a woman’s right to get an abortion as guaranteed by the Constitution. [6] Following this decision, abortion became legal in America’s fifty states.

The Supreme Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment safeguarded a woman’s right to get an abortion. Under this amendment, all citizens shall be afforded equal protection under the law.

What Impact did the Roe Vs. Wade Case Brought in the USA during the 1970s?

Roe vs. Wade’s ruling profoundly impacted the United States, and it continues to be one of the most controversial issues in our country today. 

A shift in Public Opinion

Roe v. Wade’s ruling led to a major shift in public opinion on abortion. Before the ruling, most Americans believed that abortion should be illegal. After the ruling, attitudes began to change, and more Americans began to support legal abortion. This change in public opinion has had a major impact on our politics, which is one of the reasons we have such a divided country regarding this issue.

Access to Legal Abortions

Roe v. Wade ruling also led to an increase in access to safe and legal abortions. 

Many women had been compelled to have unsafe, illegal abortions before the verdict, and as a consequence, their health had suffered or even been put at risk. The Roe v. Wade decision made abortion easier and less dangerous for American women. 

There is no doubt that Roe v. Wade ruling has had a profound impact on our country. It is an issue that continues to divide us, but it is also an issue that has helped improve the lives of women across America.

How Did the Case Change Women’s Rights?

The Roe vs. Wade case was a turning point for women’s rights in America. Before this case, abortion was illegal in many states, and women did not have the same legal rights as men. This case changed all of that.

Women’s rights activists hailed the decision as a victory for women’s autonomy and reproductive rights. The ruling meant that women now had the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and health care without interference from the government.

This case also had a major impact on public policy. For example, it led to laws that guaranteed contraception coverage under employer-provided health insurance plans. [7] It also paved the way for other important court cases that expanded women’s rights, such as Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), which affirmed a woman’s right to abortion even if her state tried to restrict it.

In short, Roe vs. Wade was a landmark case that changed the landscape of women’s rights in America.

How have Later Decisions Altered Abortion Rights in America?

Roe vs. Wade’s ruling has been challenged numerous times, and subsequent court cases have chipped away at its original intent. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), the Supreme Court maintained Roe’s key conclusion that a woman had a right to an abortion regardless of the fetus’s viability. However, it also authorized governments to impose further limits on women’s access to abortion. [8]

The Supreme Court overturned a Nebraska statute prohibiting partial-birth abortions in Stenberg v. Carhart. However, the Supreme Court affirmed national prohibitions on this method in the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 in Gonzales v. Carhart in 2007. [9] [10]

Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt, decided in 2016, held that two provisions of a Texas law imposed an undue burden on women seeking abortions and were, thus, unconstitutional. These provisions required abortion providers to have hospital medical licenses and mandated that abortion infrastructures meet the same standards as outpatient settings. [11]

The Supreme Court considered the case of June Medical Services, LLC v. Russo in the 2020s June. This lawsuit challenged a statute in Louisiana that mandated hospitals provide abortions only to doctors with admitting privileges at adjacent facilities. Because it imposed an excessive barrier on women’s access to abortion without offering any medical benefit, the Court concluded that the Louisiana statute was unconstitutional.

These are just a few examples of how later decisions have altered abortion rights in America since Roe was originally decided. While the basic right to an abortion before viability remains intact, there are now more restrictions in place than there were initially. This will likely continue as long as Roe remains the law of the land.

Roe V Wade has been Overturned.

Now individual states may decide for themselves whether or not to allow abortion. In places around the United States with “trigger laws” or similar restrictions, [13] what does this imply for women, trans men, and AFAB non-binary people?

The two ways in which the overturning of Roe vs. Wade reduces people’s reproductive rights in the United States are:

  • An increase in the number of states where abortion is banned
  • A boost to anti-choice advocates’ efforts to chip away at a broader range of rights across all states.

Those who are already disadvantaged due to economic position, sexual orientation, gender identity, color, ethnicity, or citizenship status feel the effects of diminished rights the most severely in the forms of restricted access to care, higher expenses of care, and legal threats. Access to reproductive health care is more restricted for specific populations than required by law because of their lower socioeconomic status, increased risk of persecution, and history of discrimination. 

Roe Vs Wade

The chance of dying during pregnancy is greater than during a safe abortion. [14] Therefore outlawing abortion would increase the disproportionately high rate of maternal death in the United States. Abortion-seeking populations are in disarray due to the law’s implementation and interpretation of many restrictions. There is a wide variation in the availability of clinical care providers, who may be closed or operating on reduced hours on any given day. This phenomenon is known as abortion clinic churn,” Studies have shown that it forces patients to make several calls and hurry to find childcare, money, and transportation. Delaying abortions means women will require them later in their pregnancies when the procedure is more challenging to get and will cost more money. There are cases of individuals being misinformed to the point that they cease seeking abortion treatment because they fear they will be arrested.

What Can We do for Abortion Right Protection? 

  • We can support organizations that provide abortions and other reproductive health services. 
  • We can also donate money to these organizations or volunteer our time to help them. 
  • Additionally, we can speak out against attacks on abortion rights and work to elect pro-choice candidates into office. 

By taking these actions, we can help ensure that everyone has the right to make their own decisions about their bodies and their health care.

Roe VS Wade in Simple Terms – The Takeaway Message

The Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion in the United States, was a historic decision. The case has been divisive, with both sides arguing passionately for their beliefs. However, the bottom line is that Roe vs. Wade’s decision remains the law of the land, and it is important for everyone to understand what it means.


(Written by Dr. Ebad Khan)


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