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Legal History of Abortion

Few topics in American politics are more explosive and more divisive than abortion. Perhaps this is because it encompasses a vast combination of one's constitutional rights, moral issues, religious beliefs and political preferences. Though the legal history of abortion is relatively short, it is complicated and continues to be actively debated and pursued by activists on both sides of the argument: pro-choice activists are refocusing their fight to achieve greater access to abortions for all women and pro-life activists, while combating these new pro-abortion pursuits, continue to fight for an overturning of the original decision that led to the legalization of abortion, Roe v. Wade.

To review all of the literature relating to either the legal history of abortion or the moral debate over abortion would be a nearly impossible task since new literature on these topics is published everyday. The following two examples are representative of what a survey of recent literature does reveal, however, which is that even in seemingly "objective" writing about the legal history of abortion, the moral debate exists, perhaps revealing that the two topics are inextricable.

Caitlin Borgmann, in her 2004 article, "Winter Count: Taking Stock of Abortion Rights After Casey and Carhart," attempts to uncover how abortion rights have changed since the original Roe v. Wade decision. In particular, Borgmann asserts that two post-Roe decisions, Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Stenberg v. Carhart, have in-effect banned abortions for women who are unable to comply with the laws that resulted from the decisions: namely, poor women and teenagers. Though her article supposedly is simply a "review" and effects of current abortion law since Casey and Carhart, a more detailed examination of the article reveals that Borgmann is making a case that supports the new angle of the pro-choice movement, which is to provide federally funded abortions for poor w...

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Legal History of Abortion. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 16:31, March 20, 2019, from