Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court's Ruling (2d edition, 2012)

The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade legalized abortion–but the debate was far from over, continuing to be a political battleground to this day. Bringing to light key voices that illuminate the case and its historical context, Before Roe v. Wade looks back and recaptures how the arguments for and against abortion took shape as claims about the meaning of the Constitution—and about how the nation could best honor its commitment to dignity, liberty, equality, and life.

In this ground-breaking book, Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who covered the Supreme Court for 30 years for The New York Times, and Reva Siegel, a renowned professor at Yale Law School, collect documents illustrating cultural, political, and legal forces that helped shape the Supreme Court’s decision and the meanings it would come to have over time. A new afterword to the book explores what the history of conflict over abortion in the decade before Roe might reveal about the logic of conflict in the ensuing decades. The entanglement of the political parties in the abortion debate in the period before the Court ruled raises the possibility that Roe itself may not have engendered political polarization around abortion as is commonly supposed, but instead may have been engulfed by it.


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