Please read and respond the questions in bold red. Provide resources.
Part 1
o Getting to the right of privacy has not been a straight road. The right to privacy is not explicitly listed anywhere in the Constitution. But

Supreme Court “inferred” a right of privacy from several of the Amendments, long before the Roe decision and the inference was not just from the 14

Amendment. The Supreme Court has expressed the belief that collectively, the Amendments construct a “zone of privacy.” The government cannot interfere

in a person’s choices of religion, what they choose to say, affiliate with, must have search warrants to search private areas, and the protection

against self-incrimination. We can see how this creates a situation in which the privacy of a person is protected.

The Third Amendment makes it clear that the privacy of one’s home is to be inviolate, even in times of war. The Fourth Amendment suggests that an

individual’s body (person), as well as home and personal belongings could not be subject to warrantless searches and seizures. The Fifth and Sixth

Amendments impart some rights of privacy, as well. The Supreme Court has especially suggested that the Fifth Amendment suggests that individual’s

should have the right to keep private their thoughts. In the Ninth Amendment, there is a statement that the listing of the rights contained in the Bill

of Rights does not mean to “deny or disparage others retained by the people.” So, basically, it means that just because a right is not listed in the

Constitution does not mean that people do not have that right. So, it opens a method for the Courts to interpret rights from the Constitution and the

current needs of society. For example, in the Griswold v. Connecticut decision, the precursor to Roe, the Supreme Court first discussed the rights of a

married couple to make private decisions about the use of birth control. The Roe decision followed shortly.

Most of the Amendments tell the government to “back off” an individual’s personal choices.
Question to part 1
o Why do you think so many laws passed today by legislatures get involved in a person’s private choices?
Ivers, G. (2013). Constitutional law: An introduction. [Electronic version]. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/ (Links to an external site.)

Links to an external site.
o Part II
o There was a long period of time where abortion was legal in the early US. According to Gordon (1974), it was widely practiced in the late

1700’s through the 1800’s, but people did not discuss it much. Abortion was not regulated until after the Civil War. In the 1800’s, abortion was legal

in nearly every state! In 1870, there were over 200 doctors listed in the medical directories who performed abortions. At that time, more women died

from childbirth than did from early-stage abortions (Gordon 1974). Early forms of “birth control” pills, called French or Portuguese Monthly Pills, were

marketed to women as a way to terminate pregnancies. The language in the ads was quite vague, though. (You might need to zoom in to read the actual


There was not an open discussion on the limitations on birth control up until the 1950’s/60’s, usually in regard to married couples. As Justice Harlan

pointed out, polite society assumed that a person would not engage in sexual intimacy outside of marriage. In most states, it was not legal for single

women to get prescriptions for birth control pills until the 1970’s. After the Roe decision, there was aa lot of rapid movement about abortion in the

courts. This history leaves us with the idea that those laws are the norm until laws began changing in the 1950’s. It was around that time that

opinion on the matter of abortions began to shift. Pope Pius IX issued a statement that the Catholic Church considered abortion to be murder. Anthony

Comstock authored legislation to make it illegal to advertise contraception, deeming it to be obscene. Many churches, social groups, and even President

Teddy Roosevelt attacked birth control as a means to make families smaller, a fact that was not good for a growing nation. Abortion and birth control

were quickly outlawed. Those laws remained until Griswold and Roe.

So, we have seen a decided shift in the attitudes about abortion over time, from support to bans, back to judicially supported usage. This linked

article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. that demonstrates the trend lines for abortion.

Question to part II

1. What do you think drives the up and down support for abortion for any reason?

2. Do you think majority support for abortion will shift dramatically in the future?


Gallup. 2015. Historical Trends – Abortion. Retrieved from http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

Gordon, L. 1974. Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: Birth Control in America. New York, Penguin Books.