April_10th - PLS 320: AMERICAN JUDICIAL PROCESS Testing...

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    PLS 320: AMERICAN JUDICIAL PROCESS Testing Rosenberg Roe v. Wade  (1973) and women’s rights
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    In This Presentation o Roe v. Wade  (1973) o Using Abortion and Women’s Rights to Test  Rosenberg’s Assertions o Impressions and Reality of Judicial Impact
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    Roe v. Wade  (1973) Roe v. Wade  and its companion case,  Doe v. Bolton   found that restrictive laws on abortion were  unconstitutional. These decisions overturned abortion laws in 46 states  and the District of Columbia. Rosenberg argues that proponents of women’s rights  used the judicial process in the effort to obtain rights  in conscious imitation of the civil rights movement. This included several cases involving gender-based  classifications which the Supreme Court overturned.
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    Transforming Women’s Lives Rosenberg places as the standard for the  impact of  Roe  as whether the decision  transformed women’s lives. This standard extends beyond whether it  made it easier to obtain an abortion— although Rosenberg notes that it was not  always easier to obtain an abortion in any  case.
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    Instrumental Rights The problem with analyzing an abortion decision or a  desegregation decision is that these are mainly instrumental  rights. By instrumental rights, I mean that they do not result in a desired  end-state.  Instead, these are tools given to people to obtain  desired end-states. Desegregation was not primarily an end, quality education and  equal rights were an end. Abortion is even more clearly a negative end, but one sought to  increase women’s control over self.  An increase in abortions is  not (or should not) be a benchmark of women’s rights.
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    Abortion in the US before and After  Roe v. Wade In 1966, the number of legal abortions in the United States was  essentially 0. Rosenberg then shows a dramatic increase (Figure 6.1) where  the largest three year increase was from 1969 to 1972—the  period immediately  BEFORE  the decision However, he also shows a steady increase subsequent to  Roe   through the 1970s (when the number tops out at about 1.6 
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April_10th - PLS 320: AMERICAN JUDICIAL PROCESS Testing...

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