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Episode 743

Roe v. Wade
Thu, 2019-May-16 02:32 UTC
Length - 4:45

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Welcome to popular Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of a popular Wikipedia page every day.

With 144,638 views on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 our article of the day is Roe v. Wade.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U. S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provides a fundamental "right to privacy" that protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose whether or not to have an abortion, while also ruling that this right is not absolute and must be balanced against the government's interests in protecting women's health and protecting prenatal life. The Court resolved this balancing test by tying state regulation of abortion to the three trimesters of pregnancy: the Court ruled that during the first trimester, governments could not prohibit abortions; during the second trimester, abortions still could not be prohibited, but governments could "regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health"; during the third trimester, abortions could be prohibited entirely so long as the laws contained exceptions for cases when abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother. Because the Court classified the right to choose to have an abortion as "fundamental", the decision required courts to evaluate challenged abortion laws under the "strict scrutiny" standard, the highest level of judicial review in the United States. In disallowing many state and federal restrictions on abortion in the United States, Roe v. Wade prompted a national debate that continues today about issues including whether, and to what extent, abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role should be of religious and moral views in the political sphere. Roe v. Wade reshaped national politics, dividing much of the United States into pro-life and pro-choice camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.

Roe received significant criticism in the legal community, with the decision being widely seen as an extreme form of judicial activism. In a highly cited 1973 article in the Yale Law Journal, the American legal scholar John Hart Ely criticized Roe as a decision that "is not constitutional law and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be." Ely added: "What is frightening about Roe is that this super-protected right is not inferable from the language of the Constitution, the framers’ thinking respecting the specific problem in issue, any general value derivable from the provisions they included, or the nation's governmental structure." Professor Laurence Tribe had similar thoughts: "One of the most curious things about Roe is that, behind its own verbal smokescreen, the substantive judgment on which it rests is nowhere to be found."In 1992, the Supreme Court significantly modified the legal principles in Roe in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In Casey, the Court reaffirmed Roe's holding that a woman's right to abort a nonviable fetus is constitutionally protected, but abandoned Roe's trimester framework in favor of a standard based on fetal viability, and overruled Roe's requirement that government regulations on abortion be subjected to the strict scrutiny standard. The Roe decision defined "viable" as "potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid." Justices in Casey acknowledged that viability may occur at 23 or 24 weeks, or sometimes even earlier, in light of medical advances.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 02:32 UTC on Thursday, 16 May 2019.

For the full current version of the article, see Roe v. Wade on Wikipedia.

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