supre court abortion decisions



Supreme Court Decisions That Greatly Impacted The Reproduction Rights Of Women


When talking about Supreme Court decisions that have greatly impacted the lives of women it is very hard to settle on just five of the many cases that have been ruled in favor of the rights of women. When discussing the topic of reproductive freedom and The Supreme Courts rulings on these matters ten cases can and must be discussed in order to provide a total overview and timeline of these historic rulings. The American Civil Liberties Union has helped women breech the barriers of sexual repression, and has crusaded to help women win these reproductive rights and knowledge over the years since its founding in the repressed 1920’s. In the decades following 1920 the ACLU has had an important role in influencing The Supreme Court into handing down decisions that led to the right of contraception, rights to abortion, the right to bear children, and the publication of materials valuable in understanding human sexuality. All of these Supreme Court rulings discussed lead to the valuable sexual and reproductive freedom we are experiencing in today’s society. We should be thankful and take a bow to the crusades of women’s rights groups such as the ACLU and their influences on The Supreme Court, and thus our daily and social ties to society.
The first case I want to discuss involving the reproductive rights of women is Griswold v Connecticut. In this landmark case the Supreme Court struck down a state prohibition against the prescription, sale, or use of contraceptives, even for married couples. In this case , the Court held that the Constitution guarantee’s a “right to privacy” when individuals make decisions about intimate, personal matters such as childbearing. In my opinion this case is very important because it gives an option or a choice to a very important issue. Without this right to choose single or married women would be placed in unwanted positions. These positions being a high incidence of pregnancy (without contraceptives and the choice to use them) and the stress and repercussions that would follow without the ability for them to make this a personal choice.
Another major case I want to discuss decided by the Supreme Court was in 1971. The United States v Vuitch was the first case about abortion to reach The Supreme Court. In United States v. Vuitch, a doctor challenged the constitutionality of a District of Columbia law permitting abortion only to preserve a womans life or health. The court rejected the claim that the statute was unconstitutionality vague, concluding that “health” should be understood to include considerations of psychological as well as physical well-being. The court also held that the burden of proof should be on the prosecutor who brought charges, not on the doctor. This case is very inportant in that it lead to the Roe v Wade decision in coming years.
Eisenstadt v Baird gave the right of unmarried couples to obtain contraceptives. This struck down a Massachusetts law limiting contraceptives to married couples. This case again involves the issue of choice. Why shouldn’t we as Americans be given a choice in all matters? Even if it is the issue of birth control or even the larger issue of abortion. I myself do not agree with the notion of abortion, however I do believe with the idea of the right to choose. This is a case that gave men not only women the right to choose for the sake of reproductive freedom.
The most important of all of these reproductive cases is the one that occurred in 1973. Roe v Wade challenged a Texas law prohibiting all but lifesaving abortions. The Supreme Court invalidated the law on the ground that the constitutional right to privacy holds the right of a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy .This law was viewed by the court as being fundamental to a woman’s life and future, and even her pursuit of happiness. The court ruled that the state could not interfere with the abortion decision of a woman unless it had compelling reason for regulation. The only right the fetus now had was when it became viable, usually at the beginning of the last trimester of pregnancy. And even