ABORTION Abortion has always been an extremely controversial issue. There are, and will probably always be many different views concerning the ethical acceptability as well as the social policy aspects of abortion. In fact, before the decision made in the famous court case of Roe v. Wade, abortion was morally wrong and was constituted as a crime that could lead to a prison sentence of up to five years.
In Roe v. Wade, many unsettled questions were avowed and discussed. Is the Texas law banning abortion unconstitutional? This is just one of the many issues proposed throughout the case. According to Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun-no, it is not. The decision was made that there is a right to abortion and women do possess that right.
This decision then proposed new topics; such as Where does the women’s right come from? and What is the basis for denying this right? According to Justice Blackmun, the decision to terminate a pregnancy is accounted for in the woman’s right to privacy. However, he also contends that the state has a right to protect potential life, and this interest becomes compelling at the point of viability. Until a pregnant single woman, by the fictional name of Jane Roe, challenged the Texas criminal abortion law, the decision whether or not to terminate the pregnancy was left entirely up to the State. Justice Blackmun, along with six other justices, argued that the decision to abort should be available to the woman-but only up to a certain point during the pregnancy.
In order to decide when the decision should fall from the woman’s hands to the States, the court resolved to divide the pregnancy into three trimesters. During the first trimester, the State is not liable to regulate. The decision to abort is therefore left to the woman and her physician. This is so because until the end of the first trimester, morality in abortions is less than in normal childbirth. For the subsequent trimester, the State may only regulate the abortion procedure and where the procedure is administered.
Once into the third trimester, the State can deny the right to abort entirely, but only if the health or life of the mother is implicated. These trimesters allow the state at liberty to place multiplying restrictions on abortion as the gestation lengthens. In conclusion, the Roe v. Wade case did more than solely introduce the three trimesters, but it also helped to define the rights for women everywhere. A majority of the courts have agreed with the three principal aspects of the cases resolution, that the woman has the right to privacy; that the right is absolute and is contingent to some limitations; and that at some point the states regards dominate concerning the woman’s well-being.
The topic of abortion will continually remain contentious, yet now the Constitution protects a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy in it’s early stages and the meaning of freedom is indisputable.