Type of paper: Term Paper

Topic: Pregnancy, Social Issues, Abortion, Criminal Justice, Women, Crime, Court, Law

Pages: 10

Words: 2750

Published: 2021/03/31


Since time immemorial, the issue of abortion has sparked controversial debates from scholars and think tanks that either oppose or propose its legalization. In simple terms, abortion is an intentional termination of a human pregnancy, and it is often practiced for the first 28 weeks of pregnancy. According to the medical dictionary, abortion is defined as a dismissal from the uterus of the elements of conception before the fetus is feasible. It is an untimely stoppage of a usual or pathological discourse. The paper will comprehensively provide insight on the issue of abortion by discussing three significant court cases that played a major role towards the legalization of abortion. Nonetheless, from a personal point of view, I believe that even though abortion is legal, the right to live should be respected.
Women across the universe have practiced abortion with intentions to control reproductions at some point in life irrespective of its legality. For instance, in the United States, it was popular until 1880 where many states prohibited the practice unless its intention was to save the life of a mother. The Anti-abortion legislations sprouted with an objective to control women and restrain them to the traditional role of childbearing. Also, the medical profession wanted to reduce competition from midwives to ensure that the male medical professionals were secure. When the abortion was illegal, it was difficult for women to practice it in the limelight and her condition was determined by her race, where she lived, and her economic situation. The financially stable women could fly out of the country to seek the help from physician where the charges remained costly. On the other hand, the poor women lacked the resources to perform the practice, and their fate was left at the mercy of unskilled medical practitioners with dubious motives.
Often unable to meet the cost necessary to perform a safe abortion, poor women and women from the minority groups, especially blacks, opted to adopt other risky measures to terminate a pregnancy. These women practiced precarious self-abortions like inserting coat hangers and knitting needles inside the uterus and the vagina. Also, the women turned to swallowing chemicals and other dangerous drugs to terminate the pregnancy. Women who practiced abortion had a low self-esteem and as they were exposed to shame, desperation, and fear by the illegalization of abortion. The statutes that prohibited abortion jeopardized the health and lives of women. Many deaths occurred as a result of the unsafe and illegal abortion. Nevertheless, health institutions reported the treatment of thousands of women associated with health complications as a result of procured unsafe abortion. Apart from dying, women also developed birth complications later in life as well as chronic illness and pain.
It should be noted that, 18% of women in the U.S who practices abortion are teenagers. 6% consists of teenagers between 15-17 years, 11 % consists of 18-19 years old as those younger than 15 years obtains 0.4%. More than 50% of the cases of abortion were women in their 20s while those with 20-24 years represented 33% of the abortions. 24% was occupied by women aged 25-29. The Non-Hispanic White women had the highest cases of abortion at 36% while the non-Hispanic black women accounted for 30%, 25% represented Hispanic women while other races accounted for 9%. Most women who practices abortions lived below the poverty line according to the Federal poverty line. Poor women who practiced abortion claimed that they feared that they were not in a position to cater for their families hence preferred abortion as a better option.
It was realized that, illegal and unsafe abortion exposed women to high risks that led to further complications in their future life. The case between Roe and Wade resulted in a three-trimester system of abortion. In the first trimester, the American women are granted absolute right to commit abortion during the first three month of pregnancy. In the second trimester, the case suggested that some government could control abortion in the first six months of pregnancy. The case declares that the government may declare ban or restriction on abortion in the last semester. This is because; this is a period where the fetus can survive outside the mother’s womb. During this period, a woman can obtain abortion regardless of any ban, but only in s situation necessary to save her health or life.
UNITED STATES v. VUITCH, 402 U.S. 62 (1971)


UNITED STATES v. VUITCH, 402 U.S. 62 (1971) was an abortion right case held at the U.S Supreme Court. According to the ruling, the District of Colombia’s abortion law prohibited the practice with the exception of critical medical conditions. Vuitch, an abortion provider, protested against the ruling claiming that it was unconstitutionally vague because it failed to capture the definition of the term “health.” Gerhard A. Gesell, a Federal District Judge, dismissed the indictment and ruling of Vuitch with claims that the law botched to clear the uncertainty essential in the due process of law in criminal issues. Gesell ruling was the first decision by a federal court to declare an abortion law unconstitutional. The Supreme Court differed with the suggestions that “health” was a vague statement, overturning the decision of Federal Court making Vuitch lose the case.


Milan Vuitch, an accredited physician in the District of Colombia, was charged in the United States District Court with an attempt to generate and produce abortions against the District of Colombia abortion statute. Before Vuitch underwent the trial, he presented a case that dismissed the ruling claiming that the abortion law was perceived unconstitutionally unclear. District of Colombia Judge, Gesell agreed with the motion and discharged the indictment as the abortion statute unsuccessful assured to “give that certainty that due process of law considers essential in a criminal statute.” Immediately, the U.S appealed to the Supreme Court, avowing Jurisdiction as stated in the Criminal Appeals Act. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the District Court claiming that the District of Colombia’s abortion statute was not unconstitutionally vague, and it never violated the due process.


The plaintiff protested against the ruling claiming that the Colombia abortion statute placed a burden on the prosecution team. The prosecution was expected to plead and determine that the abortion was not necessary to save a mother’s life or health. The U.S district court consulted the Williams v. United States law that ruled, “Once an abortion was proved, the burden of persuading the jury that it was necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother was cast upon the physician” (Wagner 341). The Supreme Court realized that such a clause of the statute was inaccurate and could introduce dire consequences under the Fifth Amendment. The statute failed to uphold constitutionality, and this made the Supreme Court term it erroneous. In addition, the District’s court development of the abortion statute would refute the legislative desire of women to perform abortions need to save their life of health.
Subsequently, the majority asserted that the term “health” in the statute was not vague and uncertain not to convince the defendant of the charge against him. Thus, the statute did not in any way violate the due process of the constitution. The majority in the case claimed that the issue was not common in legislative history, and there was no single case that discussed the issue earlier.
When the ruling was appealed, the issue was related to the District Court for the District of Colombia in Doe v. General Hospital. Therefore, the abortion law was understood to allow abortions in "mental health reasons whether or not the patients had a previous history of mental defects.” The Court of Appeal for the District of Colombia agreed to that development and decided that the term “health” was neither vague nor the statute. It agreed that the physicians had an upper hand in deciding whether abortion was necessary to save the health or life of a mother. The majority of the Supreme Court ruled in the U.S District Court because their decision was only based on the vagueness of the word “health” only.
ROE v. WADE, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)


Roe v. Wade was a case that was seeking the legalization of abortion in Texas at the District Court. Jane Roe is a pregnant woman who wished to acquire abortion legally and safely. She was challenging the constitutionality of the Teas law that illegalized abortion except in the case when the mother’s life was in danger. Siding with the Roe’s claim the Court snubbed the Texas Law suggesting the right to privacy is constitutionally broad enough to accommodate the mother’s decision about termination of her pregnancy.


Roe was the main plaintiff that who challenged the Texas constitution law for abortion. She challenged the fact that it was a crime to commit abortion unless the person has acquired medical advice when the life was at stake. Other plaintiff included a doctor, Hallford, who was facing two state abortions prosecutions. Does a childless married couple that also supported the Roe’s claim that the Texas law was unconstitutional. The case respondent was the County District Attorney Wade. A panel of the three judges in the district court tried the cases and viewed that Hallford and Roe had standing grounds to file and present the case about the justiciable controversies. The court warranted their relief, held that the abortion void, and over broadly impinging on the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments rights of the plaintiffs. However, the court ruled that the Does’ claim of seeking an injunction against the implementation of the Texas law was not justiciable. Therefore, Roe and Hallford were the winners of the case against Wade while the Does couple lost the case. However, the court did not rule on the reinforcement the Texas abortion law. Later the Does filed an appeal to the United States’ Supreme Court, and the judgment favored Roe and Hallford. In brief, the Supreme courted affirmed the district court judgment for Roe and Hallford while Does judgment was reversed.


According to the Roe v. Wade case, the United States Supreme Court had found an avenue to legalize abortion, hence an important case in the abortion history. Roe was perceived as driving force of legalizing abortion in the whole nation at a time when almost every state prohibited abortion with the exception of when the mother’s life is in danger. The limited reason for committing abortion were instances of incest, rape, fetal anomaly, and when it was deemed fit to preserve the mother’s life. Roe perceived this law unconstitutional, and subsequently, her claim increased abortion services that were accessible and safer to all women countrywide.
The main issue revolving around this case was weighing between the woman’s personal privacy rights and the state’s interest in the potential life as well as the health of the mother. In this case, the personal privacy right constitutes the right to save the life of the fetus and the right to mother’s life. Therefore, it is important for a court to balance such factors rather than leaving them to be determined by the legislation. However, the court failed to protect the potential life claiming that the property rights of the unborn is distinguished by two-factor. First, the property rights of unborn children are determined by the live birth. Second, the court held that the law has never recognized the unborn children as a person (396). The court lacked the right to the constitutional basis for the discussion of the mother’s right to abort, which is perceived within the guarantee or the right to personal privacy. Since the right to privacy is not absolute, the state should be concerned with protecting the potential life as well as preserving the maternal health.
The case supports the argument that the abortion should be legalized but should be limited and restricted to critical medical situations. The court held that there should be reasonable standards for providing licenses to the facilities providing abortion services. The provision of the Texas Law required that the hospital committee’s approval of all the abortions was unconstitutional because such approval fails to protect the potential life. Contrary, such approval merely constrains the right of mothers to receive medical services prescribed by her physician and the right of her physician to provide such care. In addition, the court found out that the rate to privacy was not absolute, and the state should protect the maternal health as well as protecting potential life.


In Griswold v. Connecticut case, the plaintiffs were charged with charged with disrespecting the law that prohibited the delivery of advice to married partners concerning the prevention of conception. The appellants launched an appeal claiming that the statute was against the 14th Amendment of the U.S Constitution.


The Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood League of Connecticut, Appellant Griswold, and Appellant Buxton, an accredited physician who worked as the Medical Director for the League at its Center in New Haven, were put under arrest. They were charged with disseminating information, instruction, and therapeutically advice to wedded couples on means of averting conception. The ruling charged the appellants as guilty and subjected them to a fine of $100 each. The plaintiffs appealed the ruling on the ground that the theory of the accessory statute used was against the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. Appellants asserted that they practiced their professional roles, and they were right to advise the married couples on preventing conception. With her colleague, Griswold was found guilty under a Connecticut law which prohibited providing counseling, or any other form of medical treatment to married individuals with the aim of preventing conception.


While the case of Roe v. Wade supported that the right of privacy is a vague concept, the case of Griswold v. Connecticut perceive the right of privacy as “penumbras” in the Bill of rights (398). The case was limited to the privacy that are involved in the marriage relationships. Therefore, giving such privacy rights prohibits pregnant women from being isolated from their privacy. The Griswold v. Connecticut set a stepping stage for the legalization of abortion in the subsequent cases such as Roe’s case. For instance, the Supreme Court Justice argued that Griswold case has developed the new-fangled “right of privacy” because the prohibition of the use of contraceptive violated marriage right of privacy. The Ninth Amendment states that the bill of right is broad enough to accommodate all rights involved in people’s day-to-day activity. Therefore, it can be considered that the rights to marital privacy are fundamental, and the court does not have to consult certain constitutional amendment. In American society, the marital privacy has been traditionally protected, and this supports the need for the marital privacy.
Griswold v. Connecticut case provides an insight on the argument that the ban on the abortion is unconstitutional with respect to the right of privacy. Although the case contributed to the subsequent abortion cases such as Roe v. Wade, it should be noted that the court had posed some restriction on the right of privacy. The ban on contraceptives or advice that result in the death of an unborn child can be seen as a restrictive measure to limit mothers or couple to terminate the potential life. This implies that although abortion should be legalized, there should substantial measure, such as banning contraceptive, in order to protect the life of an unborn child. Although the right to privacy should be available to everyone in America, it is important to note that such right should not be misused to violate the right of the unborn child.


Similarly, the case of Roe v. Wade supports the argument the women should not be given rights to make a decision on committing abortion. Instead, the right to decide whether a woman should terminate the life of unborn or not should depend on the licensed medical approval. According to this case, the court held that there should be reasonable standards that provide licenses to the medical hospitals perceived right to provide abortion in safe and legally. Measures such as hospital committees,’’ approval of abortion are not effective because they do not help to protect the potential life. Such limits are seen to restrict pregnant women from attending the medical services prescribed by physicians and the right of her physician to provide such care. The court concluded that the right to privacy is not absolute, and this calls for the state to take an interest in protecting the health of the mothers as well as the potential life. Similarly, the case of Griswold v. Connecticut found out that right of privacy as “penumbras” in the Bill of rights. Therefore, the right of privacy such as marital privacy does not dominate the interest of protecting the life of the unborn children. Measures such as banning of contraceptives are there to protect the potential life. Therefore, these cases support that the mothers should not in a position to determine whether to terminate the life of the unborn or not. Concisely, the abortion should be limited and restricted to the critical medical conditions only.

Works Cited

"Abortion: Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (173)." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 64.4 (1974): 393-398. Web. <http://scholarlycommons.law.northwestern.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5869&context=jclc>.
Hartman, Gary R, Roy M. Mersky, and Cindy L. Tate. Landmark Supreme Court Cases: The Most Influential Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Facts on File, 2004. Print.
Higgins, Melissa. Roe v. Wade: Abortion and a WomanÍs Right to Privacy. ABDO Publishing Company, 2012. Print.
Hunter, Nan D. "Justice Blackmun, abortion, and the myth of medical independence." Brook. L. Rev. 72 (2006): 147
Jones, Rachel K., et al. "Abortion in the United States: incidence and access to services, 2005." Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 40.1 (2008): 6-16.
Kommers, Donald P. "Abortion and Constitution: United States and West Germany." The American journal of comparative law (1977): 255-285.
Stearns, Nancy. "Roe v. Wade: Our Struggle Continues." Berkeley Women's LJ 4 (1988): 1.
Wagner, Constitutional Law—Due Process and Abortion: United States v. Vuitch, 402 U.S. 62 (1971), 51 Neb. L. Rev. 340 (1972)

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WePapers. (2021, March, 31) Free Abortion Term Paper Sample. Retrieved November 28, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-abortion-term-paper-sample/
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Free Abortion Term Paper Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/free-abortion-term-paper-sample/. Published Mar 31, 2021. Accessed November 28, 2023.

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