Back in the fall, I took Mr. Doggett's supreme court class where he taught us about many cases as well as the Roe v Wade case. When Mr. Doggett came to our women's studies class, i was really excited because he was such a great teacher when i had him and i've always been very interested in this topic. When he started his lecture, it sounded very familiar, turns out that he had already taught us about it earlier in the year and it happened to stick in my mind pretty well. Since Mr. Doggett is a Supreme court teacher, he used a few cases as background to Roe v Wade that helped lead up to the decision, some were test cases and some weren't.
Mr. Doggett started with giving us examples of some cruel things women have been doing to themselves to end their pregnancy, women were willing to experience infection, pain, shame, and even death because they want to control their bodies. People started to have theories that all of this started due to a backlash against suffrage movement, Birth control (woman want to control their own lives/ took power away from men), Doctors and the science of “race suicide” (white women would produce white children). Eventually in the 60’ some states started to regulate the laws on abortions by saying you can only get an abortion if it was rape, incest, severe deformity of the fetus, or a potential harm to the mother or fetus. In this time, there were three cases that lead up to the Roe v Wade that all had to do with abortions/ their rights to choose. The first case was with a woman named Sherry Finkbinder, she was a woman who was pregnant who got terrible morning sickness, her husband who was overseas, came home and brought her home a drug to help with it. As she started taking it, her morning sickness got better but when she went to the doctors for a checkup, it turned out that the drug she had been taking was very poisonous and the fetus became severely deformed. Because the fetus was deformed, Sherry was allowed to get an abortion so she went to the hospital to do it but when a newspaper found out, they drew attention to the hospital and put them in a bad position so then the hospital backed out and refused to do the abortion. Sherry ended up going to Sweden and having the abortion but this was a huge case because society became a huge part in the reason why she wasn't allowed to have the abortion even if her baby was deformed. Another case was with a felon name Jack Skinner. He had committed 3 felonies which was the limit that made him a habitual criminal. The punishment of being a habitual criminal was to have a vasectomy, so he couldn't reproduce. Jack fought against this with the equal protection right, his right of life and to reproduce, and if woman have a choice, he should too. Jack ended up winning this case and did not have to get the vasectomy. The last cause used to lead up to Roe v Wade was Griswold v Connecticut. This case took place in a very catholic area in connecticut called New Haven. There was a lady that worked at planned parenthood that was giving out condoms to married couples. Being a very catholic community, this went against many different beliefs. Even though the condoms were being handed out to people who were already married, it was still illegal because it was a way of birth control. Griswold got fined but then turned it into a test case. She fights that everyone has a right to privacy and uses the 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 14 amendment to back it up. After all of these cases, this lead to Roe v Wade which became the ending of a major disagreement that had been fought for many years. Roe was a 21 year old high school dropout who previously had 3 children and was 3 months pregnant with her 4th but she wanted an abortion This case became a test case. The state argued and brings her past into court, argued she's unfit and pregnancy doesn't mean much to her/ how many times is she going to do this. The state was protecting the rights of the fetus because Roe wasn't. This was a big lead to the question is the fetus a person, should the courts have a say, and etc. This case lasted 3 years, and it ended with Justice Blackmun, the majority decision he decided:
In the first trimester of a pregnancy, the woman can get a abortion for any reason, In the second trimester, the state can put some limits on the abortion, and In the third trimester, there can be no abortions. To everyone the start of life is different but to him, life begins after the second trimester, when the fetus is ready to be born. The hard part that came was that there became different rules in different states. SInce Roe, there have been limits to abortion that included spouse consent and parental consent depending on the state. There have always been people and states that have fought against being able to have abortions and it's still a very controversial topic today. Pro life or Pro choice, it should always start with the woman's choice.