Roe vs. Wade: 40 years later


It was indeed historic but the day the judges of the US Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade was also the day the opponents who lost that case began fighting anew. And now 40 years on, the wins on the abortion issue in legislatures and state courtrooms lean toward limiting access.Today, we hear from two people whose careers have been defined by Roe vs. Wade.

Audio of the U.S. Supreme Court hearings on the Roe v. Wade case

Roe vs. Wade: 40 years later - Lawyer who argued Roe v. Wade case

On this day forty years ago the U.S. Supreme Court made an historic decision - concluding that American women have a constitutional right to abortion. The decision divided Americans then, it divides them now.

We aired a clip with how Roe versus Wade case got started. In the clip, we heard from Sarah Weddington... one of two lawyers who argued the case on behalf of the woman known as Jane Roe.

Sarah Weddington was just 26 and fresh out of law school. She became a state legislator in Texas and continues to teach law at the University of Texas. We reached her in Austin, Texas.

Roe vs. Wade: 40 years later - Americans United for Life

Americans United for Life submitted a brief in the Roe v. Wade case. It argued for the rights of the fetus. Clarke Forsythe is the senior counsel at Americans United for Life. He is the author of an upcoming book called Abuse of Discretion: The Inside Story of the Supreme Court's Creation of the Right to Abortion. He was in Chicago.

A few poll numbers to consider:

Public sentiment on abortion in the U.S. depends on what you ask.

A Pew Research Center poll released just last week finds 63% of U.S. adults are opposed to overturning Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, the most recent US Gallup poll on abortion - from May 2012 - showed that 50% of Americans identify as "pro-life" while 41% identify as "pro-choice."

In the same poll, 52% of respondents said abortion should be legal under certain circumstances. 25% want abortion to be legal in all cases... while 20% would like it to be illegal in all cases.

This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.

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Other segments from today's show:

Canada & Algerian extremists: Canadian connection to Algeria attack

Naming a baby: rituals, rights & regulations

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