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The Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade. What is it anyway?

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As the public reacts to the leaked Supreme Court opinion regarding abortion rights, the spotlight is back on Roe v. Wade. The 1973 ruling set the precedent for women in the US to have legal access to abortion, with some caveats.

The decision set up a three-tiered system based on the trimesters of pregnancy. According to the court, in the first trimester, states could not stop a woman from getting an abortion. In the second trimester, states could restrict a woman’s access to abortion, unless the procedure threatened her health. Finally, in the third trimester, states could make abortion entirely illegal unless the pregnancy threatened the woman’s life or health.

The Court decided that a woman’s choice to have an abortion was a private one and that there is an inherent “right to privacy” in Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey reinforced the ruling, but this time by a narrow 5-4 majority with only 3 justices signing the controlling opinion. That time, the Court scrapped the trimester system and said a woman has the right to end a pregnancy up until viability. From that point on, state laws can prevent her from doing so.

RIGHT NOW, WOMEN IN THE US HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT TO THE PROCEDURE, WITH SOME CAVEATS.

ALL BECAUSE OF TWO SUPREME COURT RULINGS: ROE V. WADE AND PLANNED PARENTHOOD V. CASEY.

WHAT ARE THEY? LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

IN 1973’S ROE V. WADE, THE COURT RULED THAT MOST ABORTIONS AREN’T THE GOVERNMENT’S BUSINESS. THE COURT SAID THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY–FOUND IN THE FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT–PROTECTS A PREGNANT WOMAN’S RIGHT TO AN ABORTION.

THE RULING CREATED A SYSTEM, SAYING…

IN THE FIRST TRIMESTER, STATES COULD NOT STOP A WOMEN FROM GETTING AN ABORTION.

IN THE SECOND, THEY COULD STOP HER…IF THE PROCEDURE THREATENED HER HEALTH.

IN THE THIRD, STATES COULD BAN ABORTION ENTIRELY–UNLESS THE PREGNANCY THREATENED THE WOMAN’S LIFE OR HEALTH.

THEN, IN ’92, WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD V. CASEY, THE COURT SAID PRETTY MUCH SAID THE SAME THING. EXCEPT THAT IT SCRAPPED THE TRIMESTER SYSTEM, SAYING A WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO END A PREGNANCY UP UNTIL VIABILITY. FROM THAT POINT ON, STATE LAWS CAN RESTRICT ABORTION.

SO THAT’S THE LAW NOW. WHAT HAPPENS IF IT’S ALL OVERTURNED? CHECK BACK FOR PART 2.

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As the public reacts to the leaked Supreme Court opinion regarding abortion rights, the spotlight is back on Roe v. Wade. The 1973 ruling set the precedent for women in the US to have legal access to abortion, with some caveats.

The decision set up a three-tiered system based on the trimesters of pregnancy. According to the court, in the first trimester, states could not stop a woman from getting an abortion. In the second trimester, states could restrict a woman’s access to abortion, unless the procedure threatened her health. Finally, in the third trimester, states could make abortion entirely illegal unless the pregnancy threatened the woman’s life or health.

The Court decided that a woman’s choice to have an abortion was a private one and that there is an inherent “right to privacy” in Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

In 1992, Planned Parenthood v. Casey reinforced the ruling, but this time by a narrow 5-4 majority with only 3 justices signing the controlling opinion. That time, the Court scrapped the trimester system and said a woman has the right to end a pregnancy up until viability. From that point on, state laws can prevent her from doing so.

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