Reviews | Roe’s Story v. Wade and the Texas abortion law
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Most of the country is gone. From the time Roe was decided in January 1973 until the end of the year, abortion clinics opened in 34 states, and at least 745,000 women are said to have had abortions under Roe – the deductible procedure. taxes and covered by most insurance companies. When the Senate next convened to consider a possible Supreme Court justice, no one asked the judge, John Paul Stevens, for his opinion on Roe.
If they had asked him, he probably would have answered honestly, which is impossible to do in such hearings today. People were generally a lot more open about Roe back then. They were openly in conflict over it too, even its protagonists. Months after filing Roe, feminist lawyer Linda Coffee, who was a Baptist nun, shared her hopes that abortion would become “sort of obsolete.” She added that although she did not believe that the law should restrict abortion to the point of fetal viability, the standard set in the Roe decision, she “would have little personal sympathy for a woman who uses abortion to. any stage like contraception or to avoid personal responsibility.
The accused Mrs. Coffee named to Roe, Mr. Wade, the Dallas County District Attorney, was secretly a liberal Democrat who, as his son Kim reminded me, did not oppose the legalization of abortion. And the complainant, Jane Roe, a Dallas waitress named Norma McCorvey, subsequently campaigned against Roe after a religious revival. Even then, she privately felt that abortion should be legal during the first trimester – a position she voiced to me from her hospital bed at the end of her life and that she voiced for the first time. times to a Baptist press service a few days after Roe. “It is difficult to determine when human life begins,” she said in January 1973, in her very first media interview. “I wouldn’t want to wait more than three months for an abortion, because I might end a human life after that date. “
Activists on both sides of Roe had also agreed that choice and life have their limits. Dr Mildred Jefferson, surgeon and future chair of the National Right to Life Committee, has publicly stated months after Roe was filed, she saw herself as less “against abortion” than “for the sanctity of life.” What bothered her the most was not the abortion, she said, but the fact that her fellow doctors performed them. And in Roe’s day, Dr. Curtis Boyd of Texas, a committed Christian who is now one of the nation’s largest providers of third trimester abortions, would not perform abortions beyond 16 weeks.
The Roman Catholic Church also drew a line there; It was at about 16 weeks that the movement of the fetus was noticeable, and in 1211 Pope Innocent III wrote that abortion could only be considered homicide if it ended a pregnancy after this period of “acceleration”.
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