Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in

Several decisions of this court make clear that

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Several decisions of this Court make clear that freedom of personal choice in matters of marriage and family life is one of the liberties protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. As recently as last Term, in Eisenstadtv. Baird,405 U. S. 438, 453, we recognized "the right of the individual,married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters sofundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child."
That right necessarily includes the right of a woman to decide whether or not to terminate her pregnancy. "Certainly the interests of a woman in giving of her physicaland emotional self during pregnancy and the interests that will be affected throughout her life by the birth and raising of a child are of a far greater degree of significance and personal intimacy than the right to send a child to private school protected in Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U. S. 510 (1925),or the right to teach a foreign language protected in Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U. S. 390 (1923)." Abelev. Markle,351 F. Supp. 224, 227 (Conn. 1972).Clearly, therefore, the Court today is correct in holding that the right asserted by Jane Roeis embraced within the personal liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.It is evident that the Texas abortion statute infringes that right directly. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine a more complete abridgment of a constitutional freedom than that worked by the inflexible criminal statute now in force in Texas. The question then becomes whether the state interests advanced to justify this abridgment can survive the "particularly careful scrutiny" that the Fourteenth Amendment here requires.The asserted state interests are protection of the health and safety of the pregnant woman, and protection of the potential future human life within her. These are legitimate objectives, amply sufficient to permit a State to regulate abortions as it does other surgical procedures, and perhaps sufficient to permit a State to regulate abortions more stringently or even to prohibit them in the late stages of pregnancy. But such legislation is not before us, and I think the Court today has thoroughly demonstrated that these state interests cannot constitutionally support the broad abridgment of personal liberty worked by the existing Texas law. Accordingly, I join the Court's opinion holding that that law is invalid under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, dissentingThe Court's opinion brings to the decision of this troubling question both extensive historical fact and a wealth of legal scholarship. While the opinion thus commands my respect, I find myself nonetheless in fundamental disagreement with those parts of it that invalidate the Texas statute in question, and therefore dissent.

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