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12 Pro-Life Truths To Counter Every Abortion Myth

(The Federalist) In its final form, Roe forbade virtually all abortion regulation in the first trimester, allowed regulation only if serving the mother’s health in the second, and banned prohibition in the third trimester when a mother’s “health” was a consideration. The latter was broadly defined in the companion case Doe v. Bolton to include “emotional, psychological,” and family health, thus effectively allowing all abortions.

The justice who wrote the majority opinion in Roe, Harry Blackmun, even wrote in a memo to his colleagues that Roe’s use of trimesters was “arbitrary … but perhaps any other selected point, such as quickening or viability (of the fetus), is equally arbitrary.” In Roe, the court did not resolve the question of when life begins but ruled that a fetus did not qualify as a “person” as used in the Constitution.

Later, the Supreme Court abandoned the arbitrary trimester framework in favor of another “arbitrary” and “selected point” Blackmun had identified in that memo. In its 1992 Planned Parenthood v. Casey ruling, the court barred “undue burdens” on abortion before fetal viability.