How To Argue For Abortion Rights

Adam De Salle
16 min readJun 26, 2022
Norma McCorvey (left), with her attorney, Gloria Allred, outside the Supreme Court in April 1989, when the court heard arguments in a case that could have overturned Roe (Credit: Lorie Shaull via Wikimedia Commons under CC BY-SA 2.0)

In 1969, a woman named Norma McCorvey, known by the legal pseudonym “Jane Roe”, became pregnant with her third child. Living in Texas, where abortion was illegal save for instances of medical complications that could kill the mother, McCorvey had her lawyers file a lawsuit in the U.S. federal court against her local DA, Henry Wade, alleging that Texas’s abortion laws were unconstitutional. The rest was history — the Supreme Court issued a 7–2 decision holding that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides a fundamental “right to privacy”, which protects a pregnant woman’s right to abortion. The landmark case resulted in the Court announcing a trimester timetable — any abortions in the first trimester could not be regulated by the government except to require that they were performed by a licensed physician. Any during the second trimester could be regulated but only for the purpose of protecting maternal health and not for protecting foetal “life”. After the third trimester, abortions could be regulated and even prohibited, except for medical exceptions (i.e. saving the life or health of the mother). Essentially, Roe v. Wade provided women with constitutional protection to receive an abortion if they so wished…that is until the 24th of June 2022.

Amy Coney Barrett

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization concluded that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion — thus overruling both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey 1992. The 2020 appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett by disgraced President Donald Trump (you remember right? The orange guy who had those people storm the US Capitol?) immediately after the death of feminist Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, led to an ideological shift of the Supreme Court. Of course, whether Democrat or Republican, the history of America, in the grand scheme of the political spectrum, has been right-leaning, but Barrett’s appointment, which secured a 6–3 majority-conservative Supreme Court, is not to be ignored.

What also ought not be ignored is the fact we knew the repeal of Roe v. Wade was coming; on May 2nd, Politico published a leaked draft majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that would overturn Roe and

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Adam De Salle

I am a young writer interested in providing the intellectual tools to those in the political trenches so that they may fight their battles well-informed.