Roe v. Wade: The History and the Truth | Christopher White | Catholic World Report
An interview with Clarke D. Forsythe, author of Abuse of Indiscretion: The Inside Story of Roe v. Wade
CWR: The "right to privacy" established in Griswold v. Connecticut served as a precursor for Roe v. Wade. Was Griswold the decision that ultimately paved the way for the justices’ endorsement of legal and unlimited abortion in the United States?
Forsythe: Not entirely by itself. The Justices pointed to a number of decisions that they said created a right to privacy, including the 1972 decision in Eisenstadt v. Baird—also heard during the fifteen-week twin vacancies after the retirements of Justices Black and Harlan in the fall of 1972—which significantly extended Griswold to strike down regulations on the sale of contraceptives to single people. The justices largely abandoned the right to privacy in 1992 in Planned Parenthood v. Casey and justified Roe on the basis of the “reliance interests” of women in abortion as a back-up to failed contraception—the new glue that holds together the right to abortion.
CWR: Most non-legal scholars overlook the significance of Roe v. Wade's companion case, Doe v. Bolton. Why do you insist that Doe is so important?
main reasons: First, it is Roe
which gave us the national policy of abortion for any reason, at any
time of pregnancy. Roe
a right to abortion up to fetal viability; Doe gave us the “health”
exception (defined as “emotional well-being”) after fetal
viability, which is left to the discretion of the provider.
Secondly, Doe struck down the 1968 Georgia law as too strict, which allowed abortion in certain circumstances, including the health and safety regulations in the Georgia laws.
CWR: Given the cultural currents of the sixties and seventies—more women in the workforce, increased sexual license, concerns of overpopulation, and so forth—weren't the justices that decided Roe and Doe just confirming public opinion on the matter of abortion?