GETTING ANSWERS: Roe v. Wade explained

United States Supreme Court
United States Supreme Court(CNN)
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 5:41 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - As new information surfaces about the leaked document on Roe v. Wade, it’s critical to know what the initial ruling states so you can form your own opinion.

At its core, the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade ruled that under the United States Constitution, women have a federally guaranteed right to obtain and abortion. In short, the court held that abortion rights are born out of a series of privacy rights found in the 9th and 14th amendments. These privacy rights include making decisions about your own body and life.

That said, under Roe, abortion rights were not absolute because according to the court, state governments have a legitimate interest in protecting life and therefore can regulate abortion. In Roe, the court said laws restricting abortion cannot be excessive, meaning states can’t make it too hard or impossible for a woman to get an abortion.

Under Roe, women have a broad right to get an abortion up until the third trimester - the point of viability, when an fetus can survive on its own outside the mother’s womb. Once the fetus is viable, Roe lets states step in and pass laws protecting the unborn fetus’ life and limit abortion rights.

After Roe, several more landmark Supreme Court cases came along like Planned Parenthood v. Casey, that tweaked abortion rights and the constitutional limits of state regulations.

KSLA Chief Investigative Reporter and Legal Analyst Stacey Cameron spoke about the legal consequences in Louisiana if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

“If this opinion holds, and it is the opinion of the court in Roe v. Wade, and essentially Planned Parenthood v. Casey are both overruled, then what it’s going to do is throw the issue back into the state legislature. What I think is likely to happen is that the state legislature next term will come back and pass a new bill that completely bans the practice of abortions. Now, there may be certain exceptions. For example, in case to save the mother’s life, or in the case of rape or incest. But, it’s completely possible and very likely that the State of Louisiana and our Republican-controlled legislature will simply ban the practice of abortion throughout Louisiana,” he said.

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