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Roe v. Wade
Transcript of Roe v. Wade
Jane Roe/ Norma McCorvey
Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington
Sarah Weddington , currently 69 was 26 years old in 1971 when she first took Jane Roe's case against Henry Wade.
Her father was a Methodist minister
She graduated from a college in Abilene at 19 years old.
Although a college adviser told her it would be too challenging for a woman to attend law school, in 1965 she joined 40 other women at the University of Texas Law School in Austin.
In 1967, Sarah found herself pregnant and she, nor the future child's father, Ron Weddington wished to halt their schooling to have their child. Abortion was outlawed in Texas, and the safety of an abortion performed by a midwife was questionable. However, across the border in Mexico, doctors ran abortion clinics for American women. With a few phone calls made by Ron, they crossed the border and had the abortion done safely. Before waking up after the fetus was terminated and the anesthesia had worn off, Weddington remembers thinking, "I hope I don't die, and I pray that no one ever finds out about this."
Plaintiffs suing the Texas laws alongside Roe were James Hallford, a physician who was being prosecuted for violating abortion laws and the Does, a childless couple who sought an order against the laws because they were unconstitutional. The defendant was District Attorney Henry Wade.
A three-judge District Court tried all three cases together. They held that Roe and Hallford had grounds to sue, presenting justiceable controversies and the Does's complaint was not justiceable. However, they refused to declare an injunction against Wade. They declared that the "freedom to choose in the matter of abortions has been accorded the status of a `fundamental' right in every case the court had examined".
Roe then stood trial in the Texas federal court. The court ruled that the laws against abortion were vague and infringed upon the rights entitled to citizens by the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment. Wade then appealed to the Supreme Court, who agreed to hear the case.
Attorney Henry Wade was born on November 11, 1914 in Rockwall Texas and died March 1, 2001.
The son of a judge, he was one of eleven children
He received his law degree from the University of Texas with the highest honors.
After serving as an F.B.I. agent, he became an assistant district attorney in Dallas in 1947.
During the three years he served, he asked for death sentences on thirty cases and received them on twenty nine.
Then, elected as District Attorney of Dallas, he held office from 1951-1957 and was the longest serving District Attorney in US history.
Throughout his career, he took two notable cases, Ruby v. Texas, in which he prosecuted Jack Ruby for killing Lee Harvey Oswald and Roe v. Wade.
The 14th Amendment
Roe v. Wade
The Controversial, Ethical Turning Point in History
By Jayden Jones
The Presence of Abortion in Society
Born on September 22,1947 in Simmesport, Louisiana, Norma McCorvey faced a difficult childhood. At ten years old, she ran away from home, using money she took from the gas station she worked at. After this, she was sent away to reform school until her first year of high school.
The Beginning of Roe
When she was 16 years old, she married Woody McCorvey, a steelworker whom she later reported, beat her constantly. Abandoning her abusive husband, she returned to live with her mother in Dallas, Texas. After the birth of her daughter Melissa, McCorvey expressed her lesbian sexual preferences to her mother who tricked her into signing Melissa's adoption papers while she was intoxicated. McCorvey's mother raised Melissa herself, and banished her daughter from the house. Three years following, Mccorvey found herself abusing drugs and alcohol, and working various jobs as bartenders. After she found herself pregnant again at 19, she gave the baby up for adoption with abortion illegal in Texas and no money to raise the child herself. Another affair when she was 21 resulted in her third pregnancy, the pregnancy that began Roe v. Wade, a turning point in history.
Roe is Born
Pregnant and scared, Norma McCorvey sought the help of Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee, who filed a lawsuit against Dallas Country District Attorney Henry Wade, claiming the Texas law that banned abortions excepting saving a woman's life violated Roe (the pseudonym McCorvey used during the case)'s rights. Although her life was not endangered, she could not afford to travel out of state to seek abortion elsewhere. She had a right to abort her child in a safe medical environment. The lawsuit requested that a ruling be issued, commanding Wade to cease his prosecution of doctors who performed abortion.
The First Trial
Linda Coffee, born in 1942 argued against an unconstitutional Texas law alongside Sarah Weddington.
In 1968, she recieved her Bacholor of Laws degree from the University of Texas and obtained her licensed to practice three months later.
She was a member of the Women's Equity Action League, working towards equal job opportunities for women .
Abortion has been a component of society for many years, influencing society.
Under Roman rule, abortion and infanticide was permitted
According to Justice Harry Blackmun, ancient religions "did not bar abortion"
In 1684, an execution for infanticide took place in Massachusetts
In 1652, there was a conviction for the intention to abort in Maryland
In New York, a newborn was murdered in 1719.
In an study of colonial Massachusetts records, approximately 2% of children were illimitable but 90% of murdered new born were illegitimate.
Overall in early America, abortion was recognized as an attack on human life.
In 1869, the British Parliament passed the "Offenses Against the Persons Act" which a person was issued a felony for abortion from the moment of fertilization, where the beginning of life could be scientifically proved.
At the same time, every state passed their own laws against abortion.
Foundations for the 20th Century
As society developed its views on life, philosopher Thomas Malthus began to publish essays on his perspective of life, .
In his Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus wrote, ""All children born, beyond what would be required to keep up the population to a desired level, must necessarily perish … we should facilitate … the operations of nature in producing this mortality.
Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood was a resolute follower of Malthus's views. "The most merciful thing a large family can do to one of its members is to kill it," she said.
Justice Harry Blackmun
The Supreme Court Ruling
The American Populace
Roe claimed that the Texas law violated her 14th Amendment rights. The 14th Amendment states that "make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Harry Andrew Blackmun was born November 12, 1908 in Nashville and died March 4, 1999.
He served as an associate justice of the US Supreme Court from 1970 to 1994.
President Eisenhower appointed him a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals in 1959. In 1970, he joined the Supreme Court on President Nixon's nomination.
As a justice, he firmly believed that U.S. citizens have a right "to be left alone" by their government.
The Supreme Court's decision of Roe v. Wade, which he wrote was a case that characterized him for the rest of his career.
Planned Parenthood is an organization that "believes in the fundamental right of each individual, throughout the world, to manage his or her fertility, regardless of the individual's income, marital status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or residence". Founded in 1916 by Margaret Sanger, a woman aligned with eugenicist views. In the April 29 issue of her newspaper, Birth Control Review, she stated that Birth control must lead ultimately to a cleaner race" and in the
, she made a list of "definite reasons when and why parents should not have children, which will be conceded by most thoughtful people". The list states that parents should not have children if "children already born are not normal, even though both parents are in good physical and mental condition. She also maintained that children should not be conceived until the man is twenty-five and the woman is twenty-three. This, she said, would generate a loving, happy relationship, and the offspring would "grow to resemble gods". This process, she said "can only be obtained through the knowledge and practice of Birth Control."
"Abortion," Planned Parenthood says, "Is a safe and legal way to end pregnancy". In the U.S., there are two available methods of abortion, the in-clinic abortion and the abortion pill. The former is an in clinic-procedure that terminates the conceived child from the womb. In the second trimester, the child is killed by a shot through the woman's abdomen, stopping the baby's heart. The abortion pill "is a synthetic steroid that blocks [the woman's] body from producing progesterone—a hormone [the] body needs to grow a healthy baby. The procedure is unsuccessful approximately 8-10% of the time.
Methods of Abortion
As stressed by Planned Parenthood, abortion is a method in which to solve the so-called problem of pregnancy. It is an effective way to terminate a developing baby, and furthermore, it is a normal and accepted part of society; 3 in 10 women have abortions. However, according to scientific research, the loss of a child is not easily coped with by the body. Within a short period of time after conception, a hormone called 'early pregnancy factor' is found in a woman's bloodstream, "alerting the cells of her body to the pregnancy". This causes food cravings and tiredness. The whole body begins to prepare for the baby, and a pregnant woman might dream about her baby at night; she might find herself wondering what he/she will look like. An abortion halts this process. The mother must try to block the rising maternal feelings entering her consciousness. She must try to "stop thinking about her baby as 'her baby'", as belonging to her. Although she may have had an abortion, her body's cells are already aware of the pregnancy and know that the development of the child was prevented in an unnatural manner. Her body tells her that she is a mother who has lost a child. Therefore, it is not unexpected that she begins to feel pain, a pain that she cannot allow herself to show. To mourn, or feel sad for her child would mean admitting that the child was killed through an abortion procedure. It would mean admitting that she had a hand in the loss of her baby.
On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court made it's final decision, a turning point in American history because it influenced abortion's place in future society. It opposed Roe's statement that all women had the absolute right to kill the fetus in any circumstance and attempted to balance the state's law regulating abortion. Justice Blackmun, who wrote for the majority, said, "The constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy. In a line of decisions, however...the Court has recognized that a right of personal privacy, or a guarantee of certain areas or zones of privacy, does exist under the Constitution....These decisions make it clear that only personal rights that can be deemed "fundamental" or "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty"...are included in this guarantee of personal privacy". The court also added a dictum stating that in the first trimester of pregnancy, it was in the state's best interest to have licensed medical personnel perform abortions. Two dissenting Justices William Rehnquist and Byron White commented that:
"The fact that a majority of the States reflecting, after all, the majority sentiment in those States, have had restrictions on abortions for at least a century is a strong indication, it seems to me, that the asserted right to an abortion is not "so rooted in the traditions and conscience of our people as to be ranked as fundamental."
The aftermath of Roe v. Wade did not bring the expected satisfaction to Norma McCorvey. Shedid not even abort her baby. She gave it up for adoption.
In 1992 she began working in an abortion clinics. "I had no actual experience with abortion until that point," becoming "even more emotionally confused and conflicted between what my conscience knew to be evil, and what the judges, my mind and my need for money were telling me was OK," she said.
When she was working at a clinic in Dallas, a pro-life organization moved in next door. Although she was at first vehemently opposed to their cause, she became friends with many of them and began going to church. She eventually joined the pro-life cause, and dedicated much of her time to speaking out against abortion.
Later, she revealed that her involvement in Roe v. Wade was minimal and her knowledge about abortion was limited.
" When I told her [Sarah Weddington] then how desperately I needed one, she could have told me where to go for it [an abortion]. But she wouldn't because she needed me to be pregnant for her case,"McCorvey said. As the case went to court, McCorvey said she had minimal involvement, that she herself had little understanding of the implications of abortion "'Abortion', to me, meant 'going back' to the condition of not being pregnant...For their part, my lawyers lied to me about the nature of abortion. Weddington convinced me, 'It's just a piece of tissue. You just missed your period... I was never invited into court. I never testified. I was never present before any court on any level, and I was never at any hearing on my case . . . I found out about the decision from the newspaper just like the rest of the country".
Throughout America, women's groups were elated. But almost at once, opposition appeared. The Roman Catholic Church were long opposed to abortion, viewing it as a from of infanticide. Protestant ministers also voiced their opposition. Many anti-abortion organizations were formed such as the National Right To Life Committee, which formed with the express intention of reversing Roe v. Wade.
The Roman Catholic Church believed (and still continues to believe) that "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end. God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning to its end; no one can under any circumstance claim for himself the right directly to destroy an innocent human being."
"A vast abortion industry, generating some half a billion dollars annually, sprang into existence in the wake of Roe and Wade" ~Robert Casey
If it isn't a baby, then you aren't pregnant, so what are you aborting? ~Author Unknown
A Bias In Research
In modern society, it has become common for many organizations to use euphemistic language when discussing abortion or conducting/ cataloging abortion research.
Abortion is referred to as a "reproductive health procedure or a "termination of pregnancy"
Abortion clinics are "reproductive health clinics" or "women's clinics"
They are a place of "healing and care," as maintained by Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that they exist to kill human fetuses.
The American Psychiatric Association did not recognize the harmful effects of abortion, nor did it mention Battered Women’s Syndrome” and “Rape Trauma Syndrome”, commonly accepting in court and society. Recently, abortion was deleted from the Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
According to the Atlantic Magazine, Kate Michaelman, head of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League was quoted and taped saying, "We think abortion is a bad thing". Despite the evidence, she continued to insist "I would never, never, never, never, never mean to say such a thing."
Despite the popularity of abortion throughout America, many people are unusually reluctant to talk about abortion straight up, calling it as it is.
Abortion continues to be glossed over. It cannot be neglected, but it cannot be openly stated. Pro-abortion activists polish and preen the truth, a method bearing striking resemblance to slave owners, describing slavery and slave conditions as whimsical and charming, and Hitler, who depicted concentration camps as a happy, pleasant way of life.
Many pro-choice and pro- life organizations exist today, fighting vehemently for opposite views.
National Abortion Rights Action League
The NARAL are "made up of pro-choice women and men across the United States". Together their goal is to "protect and expand reproductive freedom". They help elect pro-choice leaders, protecting and expanding abortion in the U.S., spreading access to birth control, and preventing people with pro-life views from becoming justices.
Project Rachel is a confidential, post-abortion program offering counseling, support, and love for women who are suffering from grief, depression, and other Post-Abortion Syndrome symptoms. They guide women through the process of forgiveness, helping them forgive themselves and promoting the absolute certainty, that God forgives them and loves them, regardless of what they do.
Abortion continues to be a prevalent, controversial issue in society.
In a study performed by Anne Speckhard Ph.D, 85% of women who had an abortion said they "were surprised at the intensity of their emotional reaction". Such reactions included discomfort with children, feelings of low self-worth, guilt, feelings of anger, depression, grief, increased alcohol use, crying, inability to communicate and feeling suicidal. Rigorous analysis found that:
Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion.
Women who aborted have a 138% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
Women who aborted have a 55% higher risk of mental health problems compared to women with an “unplanned” pregnancy who gave birth.
Women with a history of abortion have higher rates of anxiety (34% higher), depression (37%), alcohol use/misuse (110%), marijuana use (230%), and suicidal behavior (155%), compared to those who have not had an abortion.
Relation To Theme
Roe v. Wade relates to the 2012-2013 History Day Theme Turning Point In History because:
Abortion was only legal in some states in the U.S. After Roe v. Wade, abortion was legal in all states
Before Roe v. Wade, many women had abortions performed in unsafe conditions, and afterwards they had better access to safe abortion
Many pro-choice and pro-life organizations have formed, each dedicated to conflicting causes.
56,662,169 abortions have been performed since Roe v. Wade
Due to the popularity of abortion, more and more women suffer from the harmful side-effects of abortion
Roe v. Wade has inspired an ongoing debate on the morality of killing a child in the womb.
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