The following is a list of arguments in the Roe v. Wade court case.
Read through each argument and decide whether it supports Roe’s side
(R), against the Texas law restricting abortion; Wade’s side (W), in
favor of the Texas law restricting abortion; both sides (BOTH); or
neither side (N).
The 14th Amendment says "No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Having
different abortion laws in various states keeps poor women in states
with restrictive laws from having access to abortions, while wealthier
women can travel elsewhere to have a legal and safe abortion.
The 14th Amendment says "No State shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
If a fetus is a person from conception, then the 14th Amendment
guarantees equal protection of the laws. The life of the fetus must be
considered as having equal weight with the life of the mother. Thus the
state has a compelling interest in protecting the life of the fetus.
The 14th Amendment says "No State shall…deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…." This
clause has been interpreted in some cases to guarantee substantive due
process. This means that the government cannot infringe on liberty
without proving a compelling interest and any law that infringes on
liberty has to be very narrowly crafted. Any law that infringes on a
protected liberty interest, in this interpretation of the 14th Amendment, is presumed to be unconstitutional and the State has to jump a
high hurdle to prove otherwise.
The Texas abortion law declaring that a woman cannot have an
abortion unless her life is in danger is too vague. Doctors may not
know precisely when they are breaking the law when performing an
The First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments apply to the States. Though these Amendments do not mention the right of privacy, privacy is
fundamental to the exercise of the rights that are explicitly
mentioned. As such, privacy is protected by the penumbras of the First,
Fourth, and Fifth Amendments:
The First Amendment says "Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;
or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a
redress of grievances."
The Fourth Amendment says "The right of the people to be
secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against
unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated…."
The Fifth Amendment says "No person shall…be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself…."
The Ninth Amendment says "The enumeration in the
Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or
disparage others retained by the people." The Framers did not want
the Bill of Rights to be an all-inclusive list of the rights that people
in the United States have. The Ninth Amendment says that people retain
other rights that are not explicitly listed in the Constitution. Among
these rights may be the right to privacy, which would include freedom
of choice in the basic decisions of one’s life.
It has long been an acknowledged role of the state to safeguard health and regulate medical practices.
The U.S. Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy.
For the U.S. Supreme Court to determine when, where, and how an
abortion should occur would be to overstep its authority as a court.
It is the job of state legislatures to determine how abortions should be
regulated, not federal courts.
The use of the word “person” in the U.S. Constitution as it was
drafted does not include a fetus. Thus, the 14th Amendment
cannot be construed to protect the unborn.
As a pregnancy progresses, the interest of the state in
protecting the health of the mother and the life of the fetus becomes