Doe v. Bolton (1973): A History of Key Abortion Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court
Doe v. Bolton (1973)
The right to privacy is not explicitly provided within the United States Constitution even though it is referenced in the Fourth Amendment. Privacy rights are considered fundamental rights in which those are protected throughout the Constitution. In the 20th century the courts have ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental liberties of parents and marriage. “Griswold and Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972) established the constitutional baseline for Roe v. Wade (1973), the Court’s landmark decision establishing a woman’s right to abortion” (Ivers, 2013). The ruling on many of these cases was indeed protecting the fundamental rights the woman has but also ensuring the protection as well. “Justice Harry Blackmun held, in Roe v. Wade (1973), that the right to privacy was broad enough to include the right of a woman to an abortion. That right, though, was not absolute. Blackmun’s opinion divided the woman’s pregnancy into three trimesters, holding that state’s only interest in limiting or prohibiting the right to abortion came after fetal viability” (Ivers, 2013)
The cases were won in favor of protecting the women carrying the child based on the federal courts ruling that the law was too vague, the woman had the right to privacy or the equal protection under the law of the Constitution would be in effect. “In the early 1970s, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging laws that restricted abortion. In Roe v. Wade (1973), the high court considered a challenge to a Texas law outlawing abortion in all cases except those in which the life of the mother was at risk. The second case, Doe v. Bolton (1973), focused on a more lenient Georgia law that allowed a woman to terminate her pregnancy when either her life or her health was in danger. In both cases, lower federal courts had declared the statutes unconstitutional, ruling that denying a woman the right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term violated basic privacy and liberty interests contained in the Constitution” (Pew Forum, 2013).