Legal Environment

Submitted By Nick-Robinson
Words: 3422
Pages: 14

Legal Environment of Business Team Paper

1. Although abortion is one of the most debated and controversial issues of modern times, there are a variety of factors that go into this topic that many people are unaware of. It is much more than simply a pro-abortion vs. pro-life movement, as there are a vast percentage of people who agree with some aspects of legal abortions, such as cases involving rape, incest, and protection of the mother, but think abortion should be illegal in all other situations (Wall Street Journal). In addition, while legalization of abortion is the main topic, the Constitutional right to privacy, the reproductive rights of a woman, and protection against unreasonable searches are key factors as well . An encompassing idea lies within the debatable statement determining at what point during conception an unborn child receives these rights. Since Roe v. Wade, the issue of legal abortion has been hotly contested and frequently called into question; however, not many people are mindful of the various factors that go into such a deeply rooted debate. The parity found in the opinions of supporters, opponents, and legislature contribute to the ongoing controversies that affect the lives of countless people today, and even have the potential to reach children before they are even born.

2. Before the landmark decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973, the reproductive rights of women mainly depended on the person’s right to privacy, as outlined in the 4th, 9th, and 14th Constitutional Amendments. These Amendments were very important to the ruling of Griswold v. Connecticut in 1965, which, before Roe v. Wade, set the precedent that using contraceptives is a right of privacy issue. The fourth Amendment protects citizens against unreasonable searches and seizures, which can also be applied to the right of privacy in some cases; similarly, the fourteenth Amendment forces states to give citizens the privileges of life, liberty, or property, and may not deprive them of these rights without the “due process” of law. The Ninth Amendment strongly supports the view that the "liberty" protected by these Amendments is not restricted to rights specifically mentioned in the first eight Amendments. Basically, even though it was not strictly outlined in the first eight, the rights to privacy in regards to contraceptives and other marital issues still falls under the “liberty” that is guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution. Marital privacy was being invaded by making the use of contraceptives illegal, and the justices used the due process clause in the fourteenth Amendment, as well as the ninth Amendment’s granting citizens the ability to posses rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution, to support this opinion. The concurring opinion from this case was cited most notably in Roe v. Wade, which used the right of privacy clause from Griswold to say that the decision to have an abortion was a private one between a woman and her doctor. The majority of the conflict over the legality of abortions stem from the aforementioned Supreme Court Decision Roe v. Wade. The court ruled that a woman has the right to an abortion under the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment; however, the court said, this right must be balanced between the state interests of protecting the life of a fetus and protecting the mother’s health. These interests could vary greatly during different stages of pregnancy, so the Court turned down a trimester-based approach, and kept Roe’s main holding that a woman has the right to an abortion until “viability.” The Roe decision defined "viable" as having the ability to live outside the mother's womb, even if it requires artificial aid. “Viability” is generally estimated to be at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks. These basic precedents from the Roe v. Wade case are still enforced today, but the debate has become even more heated recently. North Dakota and