Justice Harry Blackmun on Roe v. Wade

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When Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun first took his seat on the bench, it was widely thought that he would strengthen the Court’s conservative wing. But within three years, Justice Blackmun spoke for the majority in one of the Court’s most liberal, historic and controversial decisions of the century: Roe v. Wade, granting women constitutional protection for abortion. In this 1987 Moyers Moment from In Search of the Constitution, Blackmun describes the decision as a necessary step towards the emancipation of women.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gail-Lehmann/1587197699 Gail Lehmann

    I was a young woman 40 years ago and the right to a legal abortion changed the lives of my generation. Just being able to have choice made our lives more productive. No one wants to have an abortion, but to have the option has freed women of my generation and those that came after us to have careers and family planning. The pill and the right to an abortion have been the best for women. Abortion should be rare, but must be an option. No going back now…

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    In the 70’s, family planning clinics were springing up. Active teens and low income, both men and women, could get birth control pills, condoms, and tests for STD’s and AIDS. This prevented the need for many abortions, stopped women from dying of illegal abortions, and helped stop epidemics of STD’s and AIDS. Getting poor women into the clinics also helped catch cancers in their earliest stages, so saved countless lives. Men could always walk away from an unwanted pregnancy, but women could not. I suppose this was emancipating.

  • Anonymous

    Five years before abortion rights my neighbor’s oldest daughter,-[-of 7 children-] at only 14 years old, was raped and forced by law to bare the burden, had to leave school. The baby was put up for adoption. Her daughter had to tranfer to another school because of the humiliation and harassment given her. The ones who forced the child to bare the fetus was no where around to help the emotional stress of the 14 year. …and you will find the same happens today. Force to bring an unwanted child into the world who may suffer from hunger, abuse, or such. In my almost 80 years have seen many Adopted children be abused especially when the adopters wish so hard for a -“Baby”,… but not understanding the “Baby” will grow older.

  • Anonymous

    Well hey, we have wonderful politicians claiming that the rapist is just going God’s will. One is left to ponder whether they think we need more of that kind of God’s will in the world.

  • ba

    It takes a human life. That by any standard is right.

  • Dennis Lee

    I often say that “I don’t have a dog in this fight” when confronted with a topical and social issue like abortion that doesn’t seem to mean that much to me. It requires a hard slap to the back of the head for me to realize that even the issues that that I value less, like abortion, are just as important as ones I value the most such as preventing war or eliminating racism.

    Justice Blackmun uttering a phrase like “we are on the road that we must take towards the emancipation of women” is that slap. Being in a 41 year marital relationship with a woman that requires constant adjustments and discussions to insure that fairness and equality exists seems to me as though the issue has already been resolved or is well on the way to being resolved. The underlying belief for me is that we are equals. The underlying believe in the abortion debate is that in a class society, women are subject to domination by men. Men (and some misguided women) are insisting that separate sets of laws be made for women, laws aimed at the humans with ovaries, uteruses and vaginas.

    Is this only an entrenched patriarchy targeting and attacking it’s antithetic rival: a world ruled by the feminine? If it is, I would suggest that we civilized Americans have a long way to go to becoming truly civil and how pathetic we are as a society, 200 plus years after the signing of the flawed constitutional document that we haven’t gotten it right yet. There’s got to be a bright side………..just has to be.

  • Anonymous

    The Bible states several times, life does not begin till its first breath. In Numbers it talks about giving an abortion potion in the Temple. That would be the only time it mentions it. Not all pregnancies result in a life, they’re even more dangerous than anything else a woman experiences. Not only do you not understand the Bible, but want us to live by a Dark Ages book in the year 2014, and not the Constitution.