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Understanding the Abortion Debate: Home

Introduction

This research guide provides information on the topic of abortion in the United States, including links to historical background information, trustworthy news sources, and answers to questions you might have. It is important to note that many sources on this topic have a strong point of view, making it extra important to understand the author's bias or intentions. When consuming information on social media or in the news, remember to be a media-savvy reader and a fact checker. Ask yourself these three questions from the Stanford Civic Online Reasoning project:  

  • Who's behind the information?
  • What's the evidence?
  • What do other sources say?

Have 5-10 minutes?

These sources are primers on the history of the abortion debate in the United States:

The Supreme Court Court Cases in Question

Roe v. Wade (Decided January 22, 1973)

"Inherent in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is a fundamental “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s choice whether to have an abortion. However, this right is balanced against the government’s interests in protecting women's health and protecting “the potentiality of human life.” The Texas law challenged in this case violated this right." (Source: Oyez)

 

Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (Argued December 1, 2021; draft opinion leaked May 2, 2022)

"Is Mississippi’s law banning nearly all abortions after 15 weeks’ gestational age unconstitutional?" (Source: Oyez)

 

Read Justice Alito's leaked initial draft opinion (Politico)

What is Abortion?

Definition: 

An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy. It uses medicine or surgery to remove the embryo or fetus and placenta from the uterus. The procedure is done by a licensed health care professional. (Medline Plus)

This infographic shows the predicted status of legal abortion in each state if Roe v. Wade is overturned. (Source: Brookings, with data provided by the Guttmacher Institute).

What will be the policy in your state if Roe v. Wade is overturned? Use this tool from the Guttmacher Institute to find your state's abortion policy fact sheet. 

Can states pass their own abortion laws if Roe v. Wade is overturned?

A quick video on the future of state abortion laws from VERIFY.

Books in the Library