Roe v. Wade

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Roe v. Wade
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Citation 410 U.S. 113 (1973)
Date decided January 22, 1973
Appealed from U.S.D.C., Northern District of Texas
Cited Eisenstadt v. Baird
Overturned by
Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization
Partially Overturned by
Planned Parenthood v. Casey
Case Opinions
majority written by Harry Blackmun
joined by Warren E. Burger, William O. Douglas, William J. Brennan, Jr., Potter Stewart, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr.
concurrence written by Warren E. Burger
concurrence written by William O. Douglas
concurrence written by Potter Stewart
dissent written by Byron R. White
joined by William H. Rehnquist
dissent written by William H. Rehnquist


A Texas law made abortion illegal except by a doctor’s orders to save the woman’s life. Roe (fictitious name) lived in Dallas County, Texas.

Procedural History

Roe filed a lawsuit against Henry Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, Texas.


  • Whether the Constitution recognize a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy by abortion.
  • Whether mootness applies to situations which are inherently short enough that they will not reach the court by the time they have been resolved.


  • Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment enshrines the right to privacy, which protects a woman's choice re: abortion. Texas criminal abortion statutes are unconstitutional.
  • Not a moot question; it is a repeatable circumstance.


Harry Blackmun concluded that the 14th Amendment's guarantee of personal liberty is broad enough to include a woman's right to end her pregnancy.


Pregnancy provides a classic justification for a conclusion of nonmootness, because it is truly capable of repetition, yet evading review.


When Roe filed the suit, she was in her first trimester of pregnancy and seeking an abortion. When the case finally made it to the Supreme Court, she was no longer pregnant.

Roe was over-ruled in June 2022 in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.


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