Roe V. Wade: The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History

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Few Supreme Court decisions have stirred up as much controversy, vitriolic debate, and even violence as the one delivered in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Four decades later, it remains a touchstone for the culture wars in the United States and a pivot upon which much of our politics turns. With that in mind Peter Charles Hoffer and N. E. H. Hull have now taken stock of the abortion debates, controversies, and cases that have emerged during the past decade in order to update their best-selling book on this landmark case. Like the original edition, the new one highlights the abortion issue's historical background; highlights Roe v. Wade's core issues, essential personalities, and key precedents; tracks the case's path through the courts; clarifies the jurisprudence behind the court's ruling in Roe; and gauges its impact on American society and subsequent challenges to it in Webster v. Reproductive Services (1989) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992). The new edition, however, adds two completely new chapters covering abortion politics and legal battles in the post-9/11 era, along with a new preface and a much-revised epilogue and conclusion. The new material covers, among other things, the surprising results from recent public opinion polls; the impact of the presidential elections of George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor; two major 5-4 Supreme Court decisions--Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart--that confirmed the constitutionality of the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act ; the murder of abortion provider George Tiller by Scott Roeder and the latter's trial and conviction; and the appearance of the abortion issue in the debate over health care reform legislation.