Abortion, Politics, and the Courts: Roe v. Wade and Its Aftermath

Abortion, Politics, and the Courts: Roe v. Wade and Its Aftermath

Abortion, Politics, and the Courts: Roe v. Wade and Its Aftermath

Abortion, Politics, and the Courts: Roe v. Wade and Its Aftermath

Synopsis

In 1973 the Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision seemed to settle the abortion issue for all time. However, that victory did not win the war, and the impact of that milestone decision still echoes in on-going controversy, litigation, and political maneuvering. In this revised edition, Eva Rubin's discussion of Roe Vs. Wade's far-reaching abortion decision has been updated to bring the litigation and political-judicial controversy up through 1986. This revised account notes the changing character of the controversy and tries to assess the role of the courts in initiating social change and in controlling the impact of divisive political and social issues.

Excerpt

The first edition of Abortion, Politics and the Courts was completed in 1980 and published in 1982. I first became interested in this intriguing subject in 1973, after reading the decision of the Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade. I was, at the time, teaching a seminar in constitutional law and wished to explore the constitutional doctrines used by the Court to support what was a surprising decision. But I was also curious about the genesis of state abortion legislation, as well as about the background of the new challenges by women plaintiffs. I found myself belatedly reading feminist literature. In 1973, the background material available on abortion was scattered and fragmentary. I read what I could find, although I was not satisfied that I really understood the dynamics of the nineteenth-century campaign to criminalize abortion until much later, when I read James Mohr's book, Abortion in America. I presented my preliminary thoughts about the decision in a law review article published in 1974 in the North Carolina Central Law Journal.

As I continued to follow legal and political developments after 1974, I became more and more interested in the range of responses to the decision, and I began to collect material with the idea of doing some kind of impact study. The subject kept unfolding and changing focus. A movement for legal reform dominated by . . .

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