What does "Roe v. Wade" mean?

Anonymous asked this question on 11/16/2000:

This has to do with abortion, I keep running into the words "Roe vs. Wade" Can you please tell me who is Roe and who is Wade? What's this all about?
Thank You

JesseGordon gave this response on 11/16/2000:

Roe and Wade were the parties in a lawsuit that made it to the Supreme Court, resulting in abortion getting legalized in 1973. "Roe" was a pseudonym ("Jane Roe", the female version of "John Doe") because the woman wanted to remain anonymous. I think "Wade" was the state district attorney.

Some background:
Buzzwords in the abortion debate:
‘Roe v. Wade’ refers to the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion.
‘Right to Choose’ refers to a pro-choice stance, upholding Roe v. Wade.
‘Right to Life’ refers to a pro-life stance, seeking to overturn or limit Roe v. Wade
A ‘Litmus test’ requires Vice Presidential & Supreme Court nominees to agree with one’s abortion view.
‘The Human Life Amendment’ would be a Constitutional Amendment overturning Roe v. Wade. There is currently no such Amendment pending, but proponents regularly introduce ‘Human Life Bills’ in Congress.

The essence of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision is that Constitutional rights apply only after birth; hence abortion does not breach a person’s right to life. States cannot regulate 1st trimester abortions; states can regulate but not ban 2nd trimester abortions; and states can ban 3rd trimester abortions (as many have).


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