The Abortion Controversy: A Documentary History

By Eva R. Rubin | Go to book overview

The Law and the Cases

THE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS: LIBERTY, PRIVACY, AND THE NINTH AMENDMENT

Did the Constitution provide a basis for a ruling in favor of abortion rights?

Constitutional provisions that are relevant to a woman's claim to a protected constitutional right to choose an abortion are to be found in the Ninth Amendment and the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, and in a right to privacy that is not explicitly written into the Constitution, but has been established in several court decisions.

The Ninth Amendment has never received a definitive interpretation by the Supreme Court. It appears to grant rights to the people in addition to those that have been spelled out specifically in the Bill of Rights. Some constitutional scholars believe that the Congress that proposed the amendment intended these "unenumerated rights" to cover customary, traditional, and time-honored rights, those freedoms that Americans have always believed that they have, whether they are listed or not. The men who drafted the Bill of Rights did not think that it was possible to specify all such rights and included the Ninth Amendment as an instruction to the courts that the rights of the people were to be protected generously.

Some justices have argued that the right to privacy might be one of these traditional unenumerated rights. Certainly there is a strong national conviction that the personal affairs of individuals should be free from government regulation. It is also possible to argue that the Founding Fathers would have considered the reproductive lives of men and women a private area that was none of government's business.

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The Abortion Controversy: A Documentary History
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Publication/Copyright Page iv
  • Copyright Acknowledgments v
  • Advisory Board vi
  • Contents vii
  • Series Foreword xix
  • Introduction xxi
  • Part I - Before 1960 1
  • Abortion in Historical Context 3
  • Contraception and Abortion in America Before 1960 10
  • Bibliography 43
  • Part II - The Abortion Reform Movement (1960-1972) 45
  • The Reformers 47
  • Catalysts 68
  • Reform Activity in State Legislatures (1967-1972) 79
  • The Politics of State Legislative Reform (1967-1973) 82
  • Breakthrough in the Courts 89
  • The Abortion Situation Worldwide 100
  • Public Opinion 103
  • Conclusion 107
  • Philosophical Arguments for and Against the Liberalization of Abortion Laws 109
  • Bibliography 116
  • Part III - The 1973 Abortion Cases 117
  • The Law and the Cases 119
  • The Immediate Reaction to the Abortion Decisions 140
  • Bibliography 169
  • Part IV - The Battle Lines Are Drawn (1974-1980) 171
  • State Legislative Action and Judicial Response (1974-1980) 173
  • Amending the Constitution 189
  • Politics and Elections 219
  • Conclusion 223
  • Bibliography 231
  • Part V - The Reagan and Bush Administrations and Beyond (1980- ) 233
  • National Politics 237
  • State Legislation During the 1980s 267
  • New Issues and Problems 273
  • Bibliography 283
  • Epilogue - 1993 and After 285
  • Appendix A - Major Supreme Court Decisions Related to Abortion, 1973-1993 291
  • Appendix B - Chronology of Events in the Abortion Controversy 295
  • Index 303
  • About the Editor 312
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