Roe v. Wade: Privacy and Liberty


The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade declared a right to an abortion as part of a right to privacy—a term not found in the Constitution. The Court’s second landmark decision on the issue, Planned Parenthood v. Casey, gave abortion rights a new grounding in an understanding of liberty that marked an explicit rejection of the Founders’ belief in an unchanging human nature. Both cases touch on fundamental questions of morality, liberty, and government power.


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Adam Carrington is assistant professor of politics at Hillsdale College. He received his B.A. from Ashland University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from Baylor University.