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Roe v. Wade

This 1973 landmark decision the United States Supreme Court struck down previous state and federal abortion laws. Under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, the “right to privacy” protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. 

This right to choose whether or not to have an abortion is not absolute and is balanced against the government’s interest in protecting women’s health and protecting prenatal life. The court chose to tie state regulation to the three trimesters of pregnancy; no limits on first-trimester abortions, some reasonable health regulations during the second trimester and prohibition of third-trimester abortions with exemptions for cases where it is necessary to save the life or health of the mother.