Forty years ago today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling effectively legalizing abortion nationwide.
The case, Roe v. Wade, started in Texas in 1969 when a woman named Norma McCorvey attempted to have an abortion. But at that time, Texas law only allowed abortion in cases involving rape or incest. McCorvey gave birth but still pursued legal action against the state, under the name Jane Roe.
The lower court ruled in McCorvey's favor based on interpretation of the 9th Amendment and the right to privace. The case was appealed and went up to the Supreme Court, which weighed the right to privacy along with stage of pregnancy and health of fetus and mother.
On Jan. 22, 1973, the Supreme Court ruled -- with a 7-2 vote -- that state laws banning abortions in the first stage of pregnancy violated the due process clause in the 14th Amendment and that birth or abortion should be decided by a woman and her doctor.
In effect, the ruling made it illegal for states to ban abortion. Before Roe v. Wade, many states had allowed abortions under various circumstances, and many did not.
The case was decided 40 years ago, but it has remained a hot-button issue of national debate since. Candidates for elected office frequently express their support for, or opposition to, the ruling.
A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll showed a majority of Americans supporting legalized abortion, with 70 percent of respondents opposing to overturning Roe v. Wade. But support for abortion rights varies in different parts of the country and different demographics.
What do you think? Should abortion remain legal? Should Roe v. Wade be overturned and states be allowed to ban all abortions? Discuss in the comments below.