Background on Abortion

Basic terminology of the abortion debate

Roe v. Wade

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).

Planned Parenthood v. Casey

The “Casey” decision refers to the 1992 Supreme Court case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. The Supreme Court upheld the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which established the right to an abortion, but allowed restrictions on abortion. The Court cited the right to privacy, as well as “stare decisis,” which means that a longstanding legal precedent should not be overturned without a good reason.

Fetal Viability

The debate on abortion generally focuses on when human life begins. The courts often focus on ‘viability’, the point at which the fetus could survive outside the womb.
- Viability naturally begins at about 6 months of pregnancy, but with modern medical advances the age of viability is pushed back substantially.
- Strong pro-life advocates believe that the fetus should be protected from the moment of conception.

Abortion Legislation

Stem Cell Research

Related Legislation

  • ‘Clinic Access’ laws refer to what pro-life protesters may and may not do at the entrances to abortion clinics, and how far away they must stay. Clinic access became an issue after several abortion clinics were bombed and several abortion doctors were shot in recent years.
  • ‘RU-486’ is a drug that induces abortion in early pregnancy. In September 2000, after 12 years of study, the FDA approved the use of RU-486 until the 7th week of pregnancy.
  • ‘Cloning’ is a rapidly advancing technology in which a fetus develops from only one parent. It has been successful in animals, and is entering trial stages with humans. Pro-life advocates generally oppose cloning on the same basis that they oppose abortion.

    Buzzwords in the abortion debate

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    Pro life moral perspective
    Pro life medical/legal perspective
    Pro choice policy perspective
    Pro choice doctor's perspective
    Pro stem cell research policy perspective
    Anti stem cell research philosophical perspective
    Pro stem cell research legislative perspective
    Other candidates on Abortion: Background on other issues:
    Democratic 2016 candidates:
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
    Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
    Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
    Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
    Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

    Republican 2016 Prospects:
    Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
    Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
    Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
    Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
    Carly Fiorina(CA)
    Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
    Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
    Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
    Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
    Gov.John Kasich(OH)
    Gov.George Pataki(NY)
    Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
    Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
    Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
    Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
    Donald Trump(NY)
    Gov.Scott Walker(WI)

    Third Party 2016 Prospects:
    Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg(I-NYC)
    Dr.Jill Stein(G-MA)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
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