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Roe v Wade deserves to fall

For 50 years, Roe v Wade has dangled like the sword of Damocles over the American political landscape. Pro-life dreams and pro-choice nightmares have fixated on the reversal of the Supreme Court case — which established a woman’s right to choose as an extension of the “right to privacy” guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Everyone knew Roe was shaky. Even Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a lifelong pro-choice advocate, expressed regrets that the abortion question hadn’t been decided by a stronger case, one that centred on a woman’s right to bodily autonomy rather than the nebulous notion of “privacy”. Instead of surviving on the merits, the validity of Roe became largely a question of precedent: the best argument for the continued upholding of the decision was the fact that it had, so far, been upheld.

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