What Happened on January 22, 1973?

For You From The Word

By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established.
(Proverbs 24:3, NRSV)

For You To Think About

U.S. Supreme CourtOn January 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down two rulings, both 7-2 decisions.

Roe v. Wade, the better-known of the two, legalized abortion during the first trimester of pregnancy. The case was filed by 21-year-old Norma L. McCorvey under the alias “Jane Roe” in Dallas, TX, challenging Texas law limiting a woman’s right to an abortion. McCorvey later asserted that she had been recruited as a plaintiff.

Companion case Doe v. Bolton created the health exception to the Roe ruling, holding that physicians can perform an abortion at any time during pregnancy if deemed necessary for a woman’s health, be it physical, emotional, psychological, familial, or age-related. The 22-year-old plaintiff and mother of three, “Jane Doe” (Sandra Cano), sought legal help for divorce and child custody, maintaining she did not know abortion was included in the subsequently-filed paperwork.

Results of the 1973 Rulings

Prior to these decisions, abortion was prohibited or severely restricted in 50 states. As a result of the 1973 rulings, abortion was legalized and restrictions were removed. Between 1973 and 2009 (the latest year for which numbers are available) 52,008,665 documented U.S. abortions have been performed.

Does the young generation understand the significance of these two rulings? A recent Pew Research poll that found that only 44% of those under 30 even know that Roe v. Wade deals with abortion.

For You To Pray

Heavenly Father,
Many in our nation today are not aware of the legislation which legalizes abortion. Raise our awareness. Give people the desire to understand the law. Move in hearts with the urgency to be informed.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.


More about January 22

What Is Roe Versus Wade?

Meet Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade

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