Roe v. Wade - Case Summary

University / Undergraduate
Modified: 22nd Feb 2024
Wordcount: 489 words


Law Expert

Disclaimer: This legal case summary was produced by one of our law experts as an informational resource for law students and professionals researching case law. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of

Cite This

Legal Case Summary

Summary: Legal Case Summary: Landmark decision by the US Supreme Court recognizing the constitutional right to privacy.


"Jane Roe," a Texas resident, sought to terminate her pregnancy, but existing law prohibited the procedure unless the abortion was needed to save her life. After a three-judge District Court declared the Texas law void, the case was escalated to the Supreme Court (McBride, 2010).


The main issue was if the Constitution encompasses a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion. Specifically, it was about whether the right to privacy under the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause extends to this abortion decision (McBride, 2010).


The Roe v. Wade ruling has had an immense impact on women's rights and health care law. Although challenged numerous times, it remains a watershed in US legal history. The decision established a constitutional right to privacy that prior cases had recognized obliquely (Cushman, 2013). This case also serves as an exemplar of how the Supreme Court deals with social and legal controversy.


Decision Outcome:

The Supreme Court held that a woman’s right to decide for an abortion is grounded in the constitutional right to privacy. This decision invalidated all state laws that restricted a woman’s access to abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy (Roe v. Wade, 1973).

Individual Opinions:

Seven justices formed the majority, with Justice Harry A. Blackmun writing the Court’s opinion.

Justices Byron R. White and William H. Rehnquist dissented (McBride, 2010).


  • Cushman, R. (2013). Rethinking the New Deal Court. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • McBride, A. (2006). Roe v. Wade (1973). PBS. Retrieved from
  • Roe v. Wade (1973). 410 U.S. 113.

Journalist Brief

Roe v. Wade is a critical case in US history which essentially legalized abortion. A Texas woman, under the pseudonym "Jane Roe," desired an abortion, but Texas law prohibited the procedure. The US Supreme Court ruled that a woman's decision to have an abortion falls under her right to privacy, protected by the 14th Amendment, hence striking down the Texas law. This ruling effectively invalidated any state laws restricting access to abortions during a woman's first trimester of pregnancy.


What is Roe v. Wade?

Answer: Roe v. Wade is a 1973 Supreme Court case that recognized a woman's constitutional right to an abortion, thereby invalidating many state laws that restricted access to abortion.

What constitutional right does Roe v. Wade involve?

Answer: Roe v. Wade involves the right to privacy, as protected by the 14th Amendment's Due Process Clause.

What was the impact of Roe v. Wade?

Answer: Roe v. Wade had an immense impact on women's rights and health care law in the US, as it essentially legalized abortion and reaffirmed the constitutional right to privacy.

Cite This Work

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

Get Academic Help Today!

Encrypted with a 256-bit secure payment provider