There really cannot be a discussion about being pro-life or the pro-life movement without first discussing Roe v. Wade. This monumental Supreme Court Case, which was decided over forty years ago, is what has put the pro-life, pro-choice debate front and center. Some have even said that the two sides are “ensnared in a violent and deadly war” (Tomlin, 1994, 423). With the decision the pro-lifer’s were now in opposition to the status quo, while putting “pro-choicers within the established law” (Vanderford, 1989, 167). The case originally had its origins four years before the final decision in 1973. Norma McCorvey, aka Jane Roe, was the anonymous plaintiff in this case. She had become pregnant, and had been unable to obtain an illegal abortion. McCorvey was refereed to two young female Texan attorneys who eventually brought the case forward in 1969, when they decided to challenge Texas’ abortion ban (Munson, 2009, 83).
Initially the lawyers just wanted Texas to loosen their abortion laws. Many other states during this time period had already liberalized their state abortion laws- Texas was just looking to follow along with them. They filed their federal class-action lawsuit against a local district attorney named Henry Wade. The lawsuit was filed on the foundation that the Texas law, which banned abortions, was unconstitutional. The initial response from the federal court that had jurisdiction over Texas was mixed. The lawyers appealed their case to the Supreme Court, and oral arguments started in 1971. The Supreme Court issued their decision on 22 January 1973. The decision was 7-2, and it surprised many Americans by eliminating “restrictions on first-trimester abortions” (Freeman, 2009, 25). Essentially the highest ...
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...ade,” Accessed 22 February 2014.
Shields, Jon A. 2013. “Roe’s pro-life legacy.” First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life (229): 22.
Tomlin, Christopher W. 1994. “The Reign of Terror: The Judiciary's Inability to Stop Anti-Abortion Violence Forces Congress Back to the Drawing Board.” Law and Psychology Review 18 : 423-39.
Vanderford, Marsha L. 1989. “Vilification and Social Movements: A Case Study of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Rhetoric.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 75 (2): 166.
Wardle, Lynn D. 1985. “Rethinking Roe v. Wade.” Brigham Young University Law Review 1985 (2): 231.
World Tribune. 2014. “How the pro-life movement is winning American hearts and minds.” Accessed March 19, 2014. http://www.worldtribune.com/2014/01/25/how-the-pro-life-movement-is-winning-american-hearts-and-minds/
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