Regarding Roe v. Wade

POSTED September 22, 2022

The court case Roe v. Wade dominated the news, both politically and socially in recent months. But what exactly is Roe v. Wade? What did the court case protect? How does it affect South Dakota? 

Roe v. Wade was a Supreme Court case/case document involving Jane Roe and Texas state official Henry Wade. Norma Leah Nelson McCorvey, otherwise known as Jane Roe, went under a pseudonym to protect her identity. For the purposes of this article, I will be referring to her as Jane Roe.

The story of Roe V. Wade starts with Jane Roe wanting to terminate her pregnancy in 1969. However, she was prevented from proceeding due to Article 1191 of the Texas penal states “‘If any person shall designedly administer to a pregnant woman or knowingly procure to be administered with her consent any drug or medicine, or shall use towards her any violence or means whatever externally or internally applied, and thereby procure an abortion, he shall be confined in the penitentiary not less than two nor more than five years…” Roe claimed that this unconstitutionally restricted her right to an abortion, stating that the right to have an abortion was protected under the constitutional right to privacy. Roe was recommended lawyers Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington to help with her case against the state of Texas. By the time a date for the ruling was set, Roe had already given birth to the child. She had later given the child up for adoption. The state of Texas ended up appealing the case, and in 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that a woman is allowed to get an abortion within the first trimester. 

What did Roe v. Wade protect? First, it made state abortion bans unconstitutional. Therefore, states could not ban abortion for any reason. Because of this, abortions became generally more accessible and safe since those seeking an abortion, had readily available licenced doctors. At the time of the court case, abortion was banned in most states. The Supreme Court recognized that the right to privacy protects intimate and personal decisions, including child-rearing, marriage, procreation, and the use of contraceptives.

On June 24, 2022, Roe V. Wade was overturned. Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt were also changed prior to the overturning. Those two cases helped Roe v. Wade, the changing of them influenced the overturning. What this means is that bans for abortions are now up to the state instead of being protected by the government. Critics say that safe access to abortions have been protected for almost 50 years. Research suggests that more than half of Americans are “pro-choice”. Statista states that 55% of Americans are “pro-choice” while the Pew Research Center says the same group is around 61%. Many states also had trigger laws. This would completely ban or heavily restrict access to abortions. According to Verywellhealth, a trigger law is an unenforceable law that can become enforceable if something changes. States with trigger laws would be: Arkansas, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming. 

South Dakota has laws regarding abortions. 

  1. Abortions are banned unless the pregnant person’s life is endangered.
  2. Any person who performs, procures, or advises an unauthorized abortion is guilty of a class 6 felony.
  3.  If a minor gets an abortion, their legal guardian must be notified beforehand.
  4.  Any person who tries to intentionally kill a fetus by assaulting the pregnant person is guilty of a class 4 felony

*For more information please visit The South Dakota Legislature website*



Roe v. Wade – Case Summary and Case Brief (

Norma McCorvey | Biography & Facts | Britannica

Roe v. Wade | Summary, Origins, & Influence | Britannica

What is Roe v. Wade? Explaining the seminal SCOTUS abortion case (

Who is the Roe v. Wade plaintiff ‘Jane Roe’? (

Roe v. Wade – Center for Reproductive Rights

Special Edition: Roe v. Wade Is Overturned – The New York Times (

These Are the 13 States With Abortion Trigger Laws – The New York Times (

A majority of Americans identify as ‘pro-choice,’ Gallup poll says : NPR

What Are Trigger Laws and What Do They Mean For Abortion Rights? (

Codified Laws | South Dakota Legislature (

State Facts About Abortion: South Dakota | Guttmacher Institute


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