“We … acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires.” 

Justice Harry Blackmun, speaking for the majority

This case explores the legal concept of right to privacy.

Jane Roe was a pregnant Texas resident in 1970. Texas law made it a felony to abort a fetus unless “on medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.” Roe filed suit against Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County. She argued that the law was unconstitutional because it violated the guarantee of personal liberty and the right to privacy implicitly guaranteed in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and 14th Amendments. In deciding for Roe, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated all state laws that prohibited first trimester abortions.



This section is for teachers.

Use the links below to access:

  • student versions of the activities in .PDF and Word formats
  • how to differentiate and adapt the materials
  • how to scaffold the activities
  • how to extend the activities
  • technology suggestions
  • answers to select activities  

About the Case


Learning Activities

The Case

After the Case


Teacher Resources

Teaching Strategies Used

Landmark Cases Glossary

The LandmarkCases.org glossary compiles all of the important vocab terms from case materials. It is provided as a view-only Google Sheet.

Glossary

Planning Time and Activities

If you have one day . . .

  • Read the background summary (•••, ••, •) and answer the questions.
  • Complete the Classifying Arguments Activity. Discuss which arguments the students find most convincing.
  • For homework, have students read the Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion and Key Excerpts from the Dissenting Opinion and answer the questions. Follow-up the next day by reviewing the questions with students.

If you have two days . . .

  • Do all of the activities recommended for the first day (excluding homework).
  • Complete Is Privacy Protected in the Constitution?
  • Complete Precedent and Stare Decisis
  • For homework, have students read the Key Excerpts from the Majority Opinion and Key Excerpts from the Dissenting Opinion and answer the questions. Follow-up the next day by reviewing the questions with students.

If you have three days . . .

  • Do all of the activities recommended for the first and second day (including homework).
  • Complete The Casey Case: Roe Revisited?
  • Complete Applying Precedents Activity: Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt (2016).

If you have four days . . .

  • Complete the activities for the first, second, and third days.
  • Complete Impact Data Analysis Activity.
  • In advanced classes, complete the Practice Free Response Question (•••).

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