Roe v. Wade

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Roe v. Wade

410 U.S. 113 (1973), established a woman's right to have an abortion without undue restrictive interference from the government. The Court held that a woman's right to decide for herself to bring or not bring a pregnancy to term is guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment. A Texas law prohibiting abortions had been challenged by an unmarried pregnant woman (Roe) and the court ruled in her favor, finding that the state had violated her right to privacy. In attempting to balance the state's rights against the rights of the individual, Justice Harry A. Blackmun held that the state's legitimate interest in protecting potential life increased as the pregnancy advanced. While allowing that the state may forbid abortions during the third trimester, Blackmun wrote that a woman is entitled to obtain an abortion freely, after consultation with a doctor, in the first trimester and in an authorized clinic in the second trimester.

Learn More about Roe v. Wade

Share Roe v. Wade

Dictionary Entries near Roe v. Wade

roadblock

robbery

robe

Roe v. Wade

roll

roll call

roll over

Comments on Roe v. Wade

What made you want to look up Roe v. Wade? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!