Abortion law in the United States has been a controversial issue for more than 200 years. Only in the last three decades, the right on abortion is universally protected all around the United States. Today, women in the United States are free to obtain an abortion in all 50 states and throughout all of their pregnancy. Moreover, women are free to obtain the abortion not only for medical reasons but for any reason, whatsoever. Troubles with women’s rights on abortion have ended in January of 1973, when the Supreme Court declared that there can be no legal barriers to prevent mothers from aborting.
One of the most important cases that opened the opportunity to make such an important constitutional changes came from Texas, from a case of a pregnant single woman who was known as Jane Roe. In 1969 she discovered she was pregnant with her third child and friends advised her to assert falsely that she had been raped, only to obtain a legal abortion. Anti-abortion laws of that time allowed abortion in the cases of rape and incest. However, the plan failed since there was no police report about the supposed rape. She also tried to obtain illegal abortion, but when she found that the unauthorized medical office was shut by police, she decided to file a suit in a U.S. District Court in Texas. The defendant was Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade, representing the State of Texas, and the whole event is today known as Roe v. Wade. The court decision was declared on January 22, 1973, and 7-to-2 majority vote in favor of Roe. This is a day when abortion became a fundamental right protected by the United States Constitution.
U.S. abortion facts and figures
In 2000, there were 1.31 million abortions, and ever since the legislation, more than 39 million legal abortions took place. It is estimated that about 49% of all pregnancies are unintended. About half of these unwanted pregnancies are promptly terminated by abortion. About 43% of women in the United States will have at least one abortion before their 45th birthday. About 52% of all abortions are obtained by women younger than 25. Women aged 20-24 obtain 33% of all abortions while the rest of the percentage falls among teenagers. Two-thirds of all abortions are among never-married women, and 60% of them are among women who have had one or more children. The main reasons for abortions are: that having a baby would interfere with other responsibilities, that having a baby isn’t something a woman can afford, and that women want to be single parents or don’t want to raise children with their problematic partner.