This decision said that most laws against abortion in our country violated a constitutional right to privacy under the 14th Amendment. Thus the 1973 decision overturned state and federal laws outlawing or restricting abortion that were inconsistent with the court's holdings.
Dissenting opinion: exercise in raw judicial power
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Byron White said, "I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court's judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes.
"The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally disentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court."
The state of Wisconsin has banned abortion for 150 years. That law - S.940.04 - prohibits abortions except when the mother's life is in danger.
Citizens concerned about the right to life of babies and mothers want to keep this law on the books. "When the day comes that Roe vs. Wade is overturned, Wisconsin will be one of the first states in the nation to once again protect unborn babies from abortion - as long as S.940.04 remains in the statutes," said Susan Armacost, legislative director for Wisconsin Right to Life.
Attempt to repeal abortion ban
However, pro-abortion state legislators are attempting to repeal the state's abortion ban. They have drafted legislation called the "Woman's Health and Safety Act."
Wisconsin Right to Life has pointed out that supporters of this proposed legislation are misleading the public. They are saying that women who have abortions would be sent to prison if the state abortion law were activated.
This is simply not true.
Why? In 1985, the state Legislature passed a new provision - S.940.13 - which says that any penalties in abortion cases would apply only to abortionists, not to women.
Supporters of repealing the ban have cited language in the original abortion statute, but they "fail to tell people that the penalties for women obtaining abortions were completely nullified by the enactment of the 1985 law," said Armacost.
Consequences of Roe vs. Wade
Many people think that Roe vs. Wade only legalized abortion in the first or second trimester. However, the decision, with its companion case, Doe vs. Bolton, has led to abortion on demand throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy.
Also, legalizing abortion was often thought to benefit women involved in very difficult situations, such as rape, incest, and the life of the mother. In reality, less than one percent of all abortions are performed for the "hard cases." And almost 50 percent of all abortions are repeat abortions, which means women are using abortion as a method of birth control.
The legalizing of abortion has had an a devastating effect on our nation. In 1994, Mother Teresa was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying that the Roe vs. Wade abortion decision "has deformed a great nation." She explained, "The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. . . . It has portrayed the greatest of gifts - a child - as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience."
Mother Teresa backed up her words with action. She saved over 3,000 children from abortions and gave children to adoptive parents. "These children have brought such love and joy to their adopting parents and have grown up so full of love and joy," she said.
Have faith and persevere
In his new book, Mother Teresa: In the Shadow of Our Lady, Fr. Joseph Langford - who worked closely with Mother Teresa for-- 25 years - said Mother Teresa taught all who work and pray for an end to abortion to have faith and persevere and have confidence in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. She told Father Langford, "Stay very close to Our Lady. If you do this, you can do great things for God and the good of people."
I'm sure if Mother Teresa were alive today, she would encourage Wisconsin citizens to resist any attempts to repeal the state ban on abortions. Let's continue to pray that Roe vs. Wade be overturned and protection restored to unborn children. If that happens, our state should be ready to provide that protection with our existing laws.
Dr. Alveda King says
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