Seeds: Since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s, a large of part of the feminist movement’s agenda has been dedicated to a woman’s right to ownership over her own body (this could mean anything from using contraceptives to prevent pregnancy, to living a sexually adventurous life). During this period, the use of birth control pills became far more accepted, as did the notion of premarital sex. While much of the progress made by the feminist movement during the Sexual Revolution was mainly social, one Supreme Court case in 1973 proved to be a watershed moment for the movement, Roe v. Wade.
Core: The landmark Supreme Court case began when Norma McCorvey, under the pseudonym Jane Roe, challenged a Texas law that criminalized abortion unless the mother’s life was in danger. The case made it all the way up to the Supreme Court where the court ruled, in a 7-2 decision, that under the ninth and fourteenth amendment, the criminalization of abortion was unconstitutional. Therefore, under federal law, women would be able to undergo an abortion during the first trimester (three months) of their pregnancy.
Skin: This Supreme Court decision has been debated time and time again and proves to be an extremely divisive issue. Religious groups and conservative groups tend to believe that abortion should not be legal and push for the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Alternatively, liberal groups often believe that a woman should have the right to choose whether or not she terminates a pregnancy.
Leaves: Since the legalization of abortion, many states (especially in the South) have passed laws that make it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion. Today, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation that makes the act of abortion illegal at any stage in the pregnancy, directly opposing the decision reached in Roe v. Wade.
Food For Thought: Do you think the right decision was reached in Roe v. Wade? Should women have the right to terminate a pregnancy?