The woman at the center of one of the most controversial Supreme Court cases in American history died this weekend at the age of 69.
When Norma McCorvey was 22 years old, she could not find a doctor in her home state of Texas to perform an abortion. At the time, abortion was mostly illegal (there was an exception if the mother’s life was in danger, which McCorvey’s was not).
Two lawyers took up her case, and in 1973—years after her child was born and placed up for adoption—the Supreme Court heard the case. Her lawyers used the alias “Jane Roe” during the trial in which they sued Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade. Roe v. Wade made it illegal to prevent women from getting abortions, and has had a massive effect on American history. Since then, more than 58 million abortions have been performed in the U.S.
Decades after Roe v. Wade, McCorvey became a Christian and a pro-life advocate. She even went on to work for the pro-life group Operation Rescue. She once told NPR,
I'll be serving the Lord and helping women save their babies. I will hold a pro-life position for the rest of my life. I think I've always been pro-life. I just didn't know it.
Ohio's governor, John Kasich, vetoed an amendment that recently passed the state legislature known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” that would have made it illegal to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat could be detected. This is typically at about the 6-week mark in a pregnancy.
However, he did sign a bill that makes abortions after 20 weeks illegal in the state. As CNN notes, in a statement, the governor said that vetoing the amendment would save state taxpayers in legal fees, because it would likely be challenged in court. He explained, “Similar legislation enacted in two other states has twice been declared unconstitutional by federal judges, and the Supreme Court declined to review those decisions.” Discuss
Lawmakers in Ohio have officially passed what’s known as the “heartbeat bill.” The law makes it illegal to perform an abortion if a fetal heartbeat can be detected by doctors. In most cases, that’s at about the six week mark in a pregnancy. It is the most strict abortion restriction in the country, and as the Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair Kathy DiCristofaro told reporters, it does not include exceptions in cases of rape or incest.
Doctors who do not check for a heartbeat before performing an abortion could face a year in prison. Discuss
UPDATE: The governor of Oklahoma vetoed a controversial bill that would make abortions a felony, according to the Washington Post. In a statement, the pro-life Mary Fallin said: “The bill is so ambiguous and so vague that doctors cannot be certain what medical circumstances would be considered ‘necessary to preserve the life of the mother’.”
Before Fallin vetoed the legislation, we reported that lawmakers in the state passed a new bill that would make performing an abortion a felony. The only exception, would be in cases where the mother’s life is in danger. Anyone found guilty under the new proposed law could spend three years in prison.
If Fallin had signed the bill, it would've sparked an inevitable legal battle challenging the Supreme Court’s protection of abortion rights under Roe v. Wade.
Traditionally, states have been able to pass laws that prevent or limit access to abortions after the point of “viability,” currently thought to be as young as around 22 weeks. It’s the point at which the babies could survive outside of the mother’s womb. However, the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Roe v. Wade indicates that the government can’t put an “undue burden” on abortion access up to that point.
The new bill’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Nathan Dahm, told the AP that its goal is to challenge current federal abortion law:
Since I believe life begins at conception, it should be protected, and I believe it's a core function of state government to defend that life from the beginning of conception.
The World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute have just revealed the results of a shocking new study that found that around the world, 25% of all pregnancies now end in abortion.
The researchers, whose data was published in The Lancet, found an unexpected rise in the number of abortions taking place in recent years, from 50 million annually during the four year period of 1990 - 1994 to 56 million during the period between 2010 - 2014.
Notably, the research found the highest numbers of abortions in Latin America, where one in every three pregnancies are aborted. The most significant raises in numbers across the world were in developing countries.
Also notable was a stark drop in abortions in developed countries including the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, where they have reached three-decade lows.
One of the interesting findings was also the lack of correlation between abortion being illegal and the number of actual abortions performed. Essentially, according to the researchers, making abortion illegal does not make it less prevalent in many parts of the world, meaning women seeking abortions will have them performed illegally if they want the procedure. Discuss