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Constitution, US Politics

Individual Rights – Abortion

Abortion and the US Constitution

Key points:

  • A woman’s ‘right to privacy’ – not specifically stated in the US Constitution but certainly implied by the :
    • 3rd Amendment – prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in homes during peacetime.
    • 4th Amendment – prohibiting unwarranted searches and seizures of private property by government
    • 9th Amendment – reserving rights of the people (even if not enumerated).
  • These all taken together ‘create a self standing right to marital privacy’ according to the Supreme Court in its Roe vs Wade 1973 ruling.
  • The SC had used the ‘right to privacy’ argument 8 years earlier over the use of contraceptives. (Griswold vs Connecticut, 1965)

Questions to consider for tomorrow:

  1. As an individual, did Norma McCorvey challengingTexaslaw to bring about the Roe decision strike a victory for women’s rights?
  2. Is the US Constitution protecting the individual rights here against the wishes of over-bearing states legislatures?
  3. Or, is it really the unelected, unaccountable Supreme Court justices who are protecting the rights of the individual?
  4. Perhaps it was societal changes that brought about the Roe decision? After all, women’s rights were high on the agenda in the 60s and 70s. If so, again, what does this say about the 1787 document’s ability to be relevant to individual liberty in 2011?
  5. Finally, what are your group thoughts of the performace of the Constitution here – does it need tightened up (how likely is an Amendment??) or is it fine the way it is i.e. the 3rd & 4th Amendments do indeed infer a ‘right to privacy’?
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  1. Pingback: Individual rights – religion « Government & Politics A-level - November 9, 2011

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