The language in the Roe v Wade decision refers over and over to the rights of a "pregnant woman". Does this mean it protected only the rights of pregnant women, and not pregnant men, to procure abortions?


1 Answer 1


Roe and Casey refer to the category "pregnant woman." But in many places, the reasons talk only about a "person" and the interests that underpin the reasoning would clearly apply to all pregnant people:

  • constitutional protection of the decision to terminate one's pregnancy "derives from the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment... The controlling word in the cases before us is 'liberty'" (Casey, p. 846)
  • "Our cases recognize 'the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.'" (Casey, p. 851)
  • "the liberty of the woman is at stake in a sense unique to the human condition and so unique to the law. The mother who carries a child to full term is subject to anxieties, to physical constraints, to pain that only she must bear." (Casey, p. 852)
  • the plurality in Casey characterized "Roe's central holding" being that "viability marks the earliest point at which the State’s interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions." (p. 860)
  • and so forth

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