The Importance of Doe v. Bolton

January 22, 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. All month, we’ll be running posts examining various aspects of this landmark ruling. If you’d like to contribute, let us know! 

Roe v. Wade wasn’t the only significant abortion decision released by the Supreme Court on January 22, 1973. The Court also ruled on the constitutionality of Georgia’s abortion laws, in the equally important but lesser-known case Doe v. Bolton, which the Court first heard in 1971.

The plaintiff, identified as “Mary Doe,” was nine weeks pregnant when she sued the state’s attorney general, Arthur Bolton, for the right to an abortion. At the time, Georgia allowed for abortion for state residents in cases of rape, severe fetal deformity, or the possibility that the mother could sustain a severe or fatal injury to her health. In its ruling, the Supreme Court found that the existence of the three conditions upon which abortion was allowed violated the Fourteenth Amendment and that the residency requirement violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause.

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In Memoriam: Dr. Jean Pakter

Image courtesy The New York Times

Earlier this week, women’s health advocate Jean Pakter passed away in New York at age 101. The Manhattan born-and-bred physician began working for the city in the 1950s, and was the head of the bureau of maternity services and family planning for the city’s health department from 1960 to 1982.

Jean Pakter’s research and advocacy work helped create a safer, healthier society – not just for women and children, but for families. [Read more...]