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Roe v Wade

By Levi Clancy for Student Reader on

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Roe v Wade resulted in a clash of perspectives. Its roots lie in Griswold v Connecticut (1965), the Supreme Court decision that a CT law outlawing contraceptives was unconstitutional. This decision was on the basis that individuals have a right to (marital) privacy and states did not demonstrate a compelling interest to violate that privacy.

Compelling interest was the most important result of Griswold v Connecticut, and arose in Roe v Wade. When Texas outlawed abortion -- leading to Roe v Wade -- the question was whether the state had a compelling interest to do so. The Supreme Court ruled that there was a compelling interest after the first trimester, but not beforehand.

Roe v Wade was decided based on the issues of compelling interest and marital privacy ruled in Griswold v Connecticut. The Supreme Court chose to let that ruling stand, thus abiding by precedent and stari decisis.

However, a major point was that marital privacy was never mentioned in the Constitution. This means the founders' meaning was inferred. By a strict constructionist perspective, the founders' meaning ought guide the court and Congress should remedy any problem. By a loose constructionist perspective, the founders are still important but the Supreme Court should provide a remedy if Congress does not. The loose and strict constructionist perspectives are both correct.