Last Friday marked the 43rd anniversary of the United States Supreme Court ruling on Roe v. Wade, a 7-2 decision that affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion. On Jan. 22, 1973, the court ruled that choosing to have the controversial procedure was part of a woman’s right to privacy, which is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment.
It all began when Norma McCorvey, who in court documents was called ‘Jane Roe,’ sued Henry Wade, the district attorney in Dallas County, Texas. McCorvey wanted to abort her third child, but Texas state law only allowed it if a woman’s life was in danger. She contacted two attorneys, Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington, who filed a lawsuit against the local district court. The court agreed the law was vague but wouldn’t give McCorvey an injunction. Her team appealed. Wade did, too.
The Supreme Court heard the case in 1971 and 1972 before ruling on Jan. 22, 1973. “This right of privacy, whether it be founded in the Fourteenth Amendment’s concept of personal liberty and restrictions upon state action, as we feel it is, or, as the District Court determined, in the Ninth Amendment’s reservation of rights to the people, is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy,” it wrote in the opinion.
Since then, the Roe v. Wade decision has come under constant fire. Perhaps most recently, Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson told NBC News in October he would “love” to see it overturned.
Carson isn’t the only person who’s spoken out about the issue. Here are a few quotes about the famous Supreme Court case from both sides:
“I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born” — former President Ronald Reagan.
“The emphasis must be not on the right to abortion but on the right to privacy and reproductive control” — Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“I have met thousands and thousands of pro-choice men and women. I have never met anyone who is pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is not being pro-abortion. Being pro-choice is trusting the individual to make the right decision to anyone wearing the authority of government in any regard” — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
“I certainly supported a woman’s right to choose, but to my mind the time to choose was before, not after the fact” — novelist Ann B. Ross.
“The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right. It is the very opposite. It is a deep wound in society” ― Pope Benedict XVI.
“We are not here to advocate abortion. We do not ask this Court to rule that abortion is good or desirable in any particular situation. We are here to advocate that the decision as to whether or not a particular woman will continue to carry or will terminate a pregnancy is a decision that should be made by that individual. That, in fact, she has a constitutional right to make that decision for herself and that the state has shown no interest in interfering with that decision” — Sarah Weddington, one of McCorvey’s lawyers.