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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Court. On October 11, 1972 Ms. Sarah Weddington represented Jane Roe before the Supreme Court in a historic oral argument that led to legalized abortion in the United States. This document is a "virtual reenactment" of the court transcript (courtesy of The Oyez Project) to demonstrate how NowComment® can organize and facilitate debate and the exchange of ideas. No transcript text was deleted; any text used in comment summary lines that is not found in the transcript will be in [brackets]. I turned the transcript into exposition by Ms. Weddington and questions by the Justices and her responses to them into comments. To see the Justice's questions in chronological rather than topical order use our "sort Comments by date" feature. Elaine Hanes, NowComment intern]

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Ms Sarah Weddington: Mr. Chief Justice and may it please the Court.

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We are once again before this Court to ask relief against the continued enforcement of the Texas abortion statute and ask that you affirm the ruling of the three-judge Court below which held our statute unconstitutional for two reasons, the first, that it was vague and, the second, that it interfered with the Ninth Amendment right for a woman to determine whether or not she would continue or terminate her pregnancy.

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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:41PM) : Mrs. Weddington, you’re attacking the statute on two grounds, are you not?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:42PM) : That’s correct.
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Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:43PM) : Both vagueness and the Ninth Amendment. more

Do you place any greater weight on one argument as against the other?

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:44PM) : Our--Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Thompson versus State--
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Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:45PM) : That’s the recent case?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:45PM) : Yes, in November or last--
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Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:46PM) : Again up on vagueness.
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:47PM) : Yes, it-- that particular case held that the Texas statute was not vague citing Vuitch. more

It’s my opinion that that reliance was misplaced. That, in Vuitch, this Court had before it the D.C. statute which allowed abortion for the purpose of saving the life or the health, and this Court adopted the interpretation that health meant both mental and physical health.

And, it seem to me, the Court’s language in that case talked a great deal about the fact that the doctor’s judgment goes to saving the health of the woman, that that’s the kind of judgment that he is used to making.
In Texas, that’s not the judgment he is forced to make.

The judgment in Texas is, is this necessary for the purpose of preserving the life of the woman, and the language of that statute has never been interpreted.

That’s not the kind of judgment that a doctor is accustomed or perhaps even able to make.

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Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:48PM) : I’ll go back to my question. more

Are you—

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:49PM) : I still continue the argument that the Texas case is vague.
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Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 1:49PM) : So, you’re relying on both.
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 1:50PM) : Yes, Your Honor, we are.
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As you will recall, there are three-- four-- three plaintiffs and one intervener involved here.

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The first plaintiff was Jane Roe, an unmarried pregnant girl who had sought an abortion in the State of Texas and was denied it because of the Texas abortion statute which provides an abortion is lawful only for the purpose of saving the life of the woman.

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In the original action, she was joined by a married couple, John and Mary Doe.

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Mrs. Doe had a medical condition.

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Her doctor had recommended first that she not get pregnant and, second, that she not take the pill.

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After this cause was instituted and after, in fact, the three-judge Court had been granted, those three plaintiffs were joined by an intervener, Doctor Hallford, who was, at the time he intervened, under a pending state criminal prosecution under the statute.

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He did not ask that his prosecution be joined-- be stopped by the Court but, rather, joined in the original request for a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against future prosecutions.

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As a matter of fact, he has not-- his prosecution has not been continued, but the District Attorney, against whom we filed a suit, has taken a position that because there was no injunction he is still free to institute prosecutions.

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There is a letter from his office in the appendix stating that he will continue prosecutions and, in fact, there had been a very limited number of prosecutions instituted in the State of Texas since the three-judge Court entered its declaratory judgment.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 11:35AM) : The prosecutions of doctors, you’re speaking of.
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 11:36AM) : Prosecutions of doctors, yes, sir.
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The problem that we face in Texas is that even though we were granted a declaratory judgment ruling the law unconstitutional and even though we’ve been before this Court once in the past, in Texas, women still are not able to receive abortions from licensed doctors because doctors still fear that they will be prosecuted under the statute.

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So, if the declaratory judgment was any relief at all, it was an almost meaningful relief because the women of Texas still must either travel to other states, if they are that sophisticated and can afford it, or they must resort to some other less-- some other very undesirable alternatives and—

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 11:37AM) : You said “meaningful.” You meant meaningless, didn’t you?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 11:37AM) : Yes, it’s just--
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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 11:38AM) : Meaningless review.
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In fact, we’ve pointed out in our supplemental brief filed here that there had been something like 1,600 Texas women who have gone to New York City alone for abortions in the first nine months of 1971.

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In addition, I think the Court would recognize there are many women going to other parts of the country.

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One of the objections that our opponents have raised is saying that this Court is moot because, of course, the woman is no longer pregnant.

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It’s been almost three years since we instituted the original action and, yet, we can certainly show that it is a continuing problem to Texas women.

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There still are unwanted pregnancies. There are still women who, for various reasons, do not wish to continue the pregnancy whether because of personal health considerations, whether because of their family situation, whether because of financial situations, education, working situations, some of the many things we discussed in the last hearing.

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Since the last hearing before this Court, there have been a few cases decided that we wanted to draw the Court’s attention to and are covered in our supplemental brief.

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In addition, there is a supplemental brief filed by an amicus party, Harriet Pilpel on behalf of Planned Parenthood of New York, that seeks to point out to the Court at pages 6 and 7, subsequent pages, some of the changing medical statistics available regarding the procedure of abortion.

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For example, that brief points out that the overall maternal death rate from legal abortion in New York dropped to 3.7 per 100,000 abortions in the last half of 1971 and that, in fact, is less than half of the death rate associated with live delivery for women.

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That, in fact, the maternal morbidity-- mortality rate has decreased by about two-thirds to a record low in New York in 1971.

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That-- now, in 1971, New York recorded the lowest infant mortality rate ever in that state.

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That during the first 18 months of 19-- well, from July 1, 1970 to December 31, 1971, out of wedlock pregnancies have dropped about 14%.

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We now have other statistics coming from California and other states that show that not only has the overall birthrate declined, but the welfare birthrate has also declined accordingly.

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As to the women, this is their only forum.

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They are in a very unique situation for several reasons.

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First, because of the very nature of the interest involved, their primary interest being the interest associated with the question of whether or not they will be forced by the state to continue an unwanted pregnancy.

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In our original brief, we alleged a number of constitutional grounds.

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The main one that we are relying on before this Court are the Fifth, Ninth, and the Fourteenth Amendments.

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There’s a great body of precedent.

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Certainly, we cannot say that there isn’t a constitution so stated the right to abortion but, neither is there stated the right to travel or some of the other basic rights that this Court have held are under the United States Constitution.

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The Court has in the past, for example, held that it is the right of the parents and not of the individual to determine whether or not they will send their child to private school, whether or not their children will be taught foreign languages, whether or not they will have offspring in the Skinner case, whether the right to determine for themselves whom they will marry in the Loving case, and even in Body versus Connecticut the choice saying that marriage itself is so important that the state cannot interfere with termination of a marriage just because the woman is unable to pay the cost.

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Griswold, of course, is the primary case holding that the state could not interfere in the question of whether or not a married couple would use birth control and, since then, the Courts have-- this Court, of course, has held that the individual has the right to determine whether they are married or single, whether they would use birth control.

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So, there is a great body of cases decided in the past by this Court in the areas of marriage, sex, contraception, procreation, childbearing, and education of children which says that there are certain things that are so much part of the individual concern that they should be left to the determination of the individual.

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One of the cases decided since our last argument, December 13, was the second Connecticut case, Abele versus Markle, which Judge-- excuse me?

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Unknown Speaker (Nov 12 2010 12:16PM) : Newman
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 12:24PM) : Judge Newman wrote the opinion, yes. more

Thank you.

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And, Judge Lambert concurred.

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Part of the lang-- in that case, that three-judge Court held the Connecticut statute, a slightly revised statute for the second time, to be unconstitutional, and part of the language of that case pointed out that “no decision of the Supreme Court has ever permitted anyone’s constitutional right to be directly abridged to protect a state interest which is subject to such a variety of personal judgments” and, certainly, the amicus brief stag before the Court showed a variety of personal judgments that come to bear on this particular situation.

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To oppose such a statute, the Court said, would be to permit the state to impose its view of the nature of a fetus upon those who have the constitutional right to base an important decision in their personal lives upon a different view.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 6:12PM) : Do you make any distinction between the first month and the ninth month of gestation?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 6:13PM) : Our statute does not.
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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 6:14PM) : Do you, in your position in this case?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 6:16PM) : We are asking in this case that the Court declare the statute unconstitutional, the state having proved no compelling interest at all. more

There are some states that now have adopted time limits.
Those have not yet been challenged and, perhaps, that question will be before this Court.

Even those statutes though allow exceptions, well, for— New York, for example, says an abortion is lawful up to 24 weeks, but even after the 24 weeks it is still lawful where there is rape or incest or where the mother’s mental or physical health is involved.

In other words, even after that period, it’s not a hard and fast cutoff.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 12 2010 6:22PM) : Then it’s the weighing process that Mr. Justice White was referring to. more

Is that your position?

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 12 2010 6:27PM) : [Time Limits] more

The legislature and in that situation engaged in the weighing process, and it seems to me that it has not yet been determined whether the state has the compelling state interest to uphold even that kind of regulation, but that’s really not before the Court in this particular case. We have no time limit.

There is no indication in Texas that any would be applied in any future date.

You know, we just don’t know that.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 15 2010 5:37PM) : Could Texas constitutionally-- did you want to respond further to Justice Stewart? more

Did you want to respond further to him?

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 15 2010 5:40PM) : No, Your Honor.
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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 15 2010 5:41PM) : Could Texas constitutionally, in your view, declare that—by statute that the fetus is a person for all constitutional purposes after the third month of gestation?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 15 2010 5:44PM) : I do not believe that the state legislature can determine the meaning of the federal constitution. more

It is up to this Court to make that determination.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 15 2010 6:12PM) : Yes, but states have to--
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 15 2010 6:13PM) : The state--
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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 15 2010 6:13PM) : Go against the statutes, don’t they?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 15 2010 6:15PM) : [Constitutionality of Various Statues] more

The state could obviously adopt that kind of statute and then the question would have to be adjudicated as to whether, for all purposes, that statute is constitutional.

We are not alleging that there cannot be some kind of protection. For example, the property rights which, again, are contingent on being—upon being born alive that can be retroactive to the period prior to birth, but in this particular situation, we are alleging that this statute is unconstitutional.

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Chief Justice Warren E. Burger (Nov 15 2010 6:16PM) : They have been recognized in the period before birth for purposes of injury claims. more

You put that, I take it, in the property category?

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
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(Nov 15 2010 6:18PM) : [Clarification Regarding Property Rights] more

That is only when they are born alive, and the fact that there is a wrong—the wrongful conduct of another is not the same in this situation.

As to property rights, for example, there are even property rights that relate back to prior to conception, children that are not yet conceived can later inherit.

But, that doesn’t—that did not prevent this Court in Griswold from holding people had the right to birth control.

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Again, this is a very special type case for the women because of the very nature of the injury involved.

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It is an irreparable injury.

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Once pregnancy has started, certainly this is not the kind of injury that can be later adjudicated.

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It is not the kind of injury that can later be compensated by some sort of monetary reward.

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These women who have now gone through pregnancy and the women who continue to be forced to go through pregnancy have certainly gone through something that is irreparable, that can never be changed for them.

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It is certainly great and it is certainly immediate.

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There is no other forum available to them.

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As we talked last time, they are not subject in Texas to any kind of criminal prosecution whether the woman performs self-abortion, whether she goes to a doctor, finds someone who will perform it on her.

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She is guilty of no crime whatsoever and, yet, the state tries to allege that its purpose in the statute was to protect the fetus.

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If that’s true, the fact the woman is guilty of no crime is not a reasonable kind of-- it does not reasonably follow.

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These-- the women are not able to have any kind of declaratory judgment in Texas because of our special declaratory judgment statutes and our concurring Criminal and Civil Courts, the two different kinds of cases that we have.

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So, the Federal Court was the only Court to which the women had any kind of access, and it was to the Federal Courts they came, and it’s the Federal Court, in my judgment, that should determine this case.

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It’s a very unique kind of harm, certainly, that was done to them.

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Even though there are many cases, some very recent from this Court, talking about the problem of when a state may interfere when they’re-- or the federal judiciary may interfere when there is a pending state criminal prosecution.

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This case does come under the exceptions in that there is great, immediate, irreparable injury where there is no other forum.

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It is something that, as far as these women are concerned, can never be adjudicated in a criminal prosecution, much less in a single criminal prosecution.

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It certainly is an instance of a situation that is capable of repetition, yet, evading review.

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The judiciary simply does not move fast enough for the case to be decided within the period of gestation, much less within the period within which an abortion would be medically safe for these women.

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The state has alleged and it’s only alleged interest in the statute is the interest in protecting the life of the unborn.

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However, the state has not been able to point to any authority of any nature whatsoever that would demonstrate that this statute was, in fact, adopted for that purpose.

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We have some indication that other state statutes were adopted for the purpose of protecting the health of the woman.

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We have an 1880 case in Texas, shortly after the 1854 statute was adopted, that states that a woman is the victim of the crime and is the only victim the Court talks about.

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We have all the contradictions in the statute in the way-- so many things that just don’t make sense.

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If the statute was adopted for that purpose, for example, why is the woman guilty of no crime?

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Nov 12
Justice Potter Stewart (Nov 12 2010 12:37PM) : [Rights of the unborn fetus] more

Regardless of the purpose for which the statute was originally enacted or the purpose which keeps it on the books in Texas today, you would agree, I suppose, that one of the important factors that has to be considered in this case is what rights, if any, does the unborn fetus have.

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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 12:37PM) : That's correct.
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If the statute was adopted for that purpose, why is it that the penalty for abortion is determined by whether or not you have the woman’s consent?

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There had been two cases decided since the December 13 argument that expressly hold that a fetus has no constitutional rights, one being Byrn versus New York, and the other being the Magee-Womens Hospital cases.

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In both situations, a person sought to bring that very question to the Court does in the one instance, Byrn, was a challenge to the New York revised statute, the other was a situation where a person sought to prevent Magee-Womens Hospital from allowing further abortions to be done in that hospital.

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And, in both cases, it was held that the fetus had no constitutional rights.

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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:41PM) : Is it also critical to your case that the fetus not to be a person under the due process clause?
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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:44PM) : It seems to me that it is critical first that we prove this is a fundamental interest on behalf of the woman, that it is a constitutional right and, second--
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:44PM) : Yes, but how about the fetus?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:45PM) : Okay, and the state is alleging a compelling state interest.
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:47PM) : Yes, but I’m just asking you, under the federal constitution, is the fetus a person for the purpose of the protection of the Due Process Clause?
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Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:48PM) : All of the cases, the prior history of this statute, the common law history would indicate that it is not. more

The state has shown no—

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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:49PM) : Well, what if-- would you loose your case if the fetus was a person?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:50PM) : Then you would have a balancing of interests.
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:51PM) : Well, you’d still-- you have any way, don’t you?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:51PM) : Excuse me?
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:54PM) : You have any way, don’t you? more

You’re going to be balancing the rights of the mother against the rights of the fetus.

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Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:56PM) : It seems to me that you do not balance constitutional rights of one person against mere statutory rights of another.
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 5:57PM) : Do you think a state interest, if it’s only a statutory interest or a constitutional interest under the state law, can never outweigh a federal constitutional right, is that it?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 5:58PM) : I think-- it would seem to me that--
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Nov 12
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 12 2010 6:00PM) : So all the talk of compelling state interests is beside the point. more

It can never be compelling enough.

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 6:04PM) : [Situation for State Compelling Interest} more

If the state could show that the fetus was a person under the Fourteenth Amendment or under some other amendment or part of the constitution, then you would have the situation of trying— you would have a state compelling interest which, in some instances, can outweigh a fundamental right.

This is not the case in this particular situation.

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Nov 15
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 15 2010 4:55PM) : Well, do I get from this then that your case depends primarily on the proposition that the fetus has no constitutional rights?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 5:00PM) : It depends on saying that the woman has a fundament constitutional right and that the state has not proved any compelling interest for regulation in the area. more

Even if the Court, at some point, determined the fetus to be entitled to constitutional protection, you would still get back into the weighing of one life against another.

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Nov 15
Justice Byron R. White (Nov 15 2010 5:09PM) : And that’s what’s involved in this case, weighing one’s life against another?
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Nov 15
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 5:17PM) : No, Your Honor. more

I said that would be what would be involved if the facts were different and the state could prove that there was a person for the constitutional right.

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Nov 15
Justice Potter Stewart (Nov 15 2010 5:20PM) : Well, if it were established that an unborn fetus is a person within the protection of the Fourteenth Amendment, you would have almost an impossible case here, would you not?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 5:23PM) : I would have a very difficult case. [Laughter]
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Nov 15
Justice Potter Stewart (Nov 15 2010 5:25PM) : You certainly would because you’d have the same kind of thing you’d have to say that this would be the equivalent to after the child was born.
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 5:26PM) : That’s right.
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Nov 15
Justice Potter Stewart (Nov 15 2010 5:27PM) : If the mother thought that it bothered her health having the child around, she could have it killed. more

Isn’t that correct?

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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 5:28PM) : That’s correct.
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Several of the briefs before this Court would also argue that this Court in deciding the Vuitch case which has allowed abortions to continue in the District of Columbia, certainly the Court would not have made that kind of decision if it felt there were any ingrained rights of the fetus within the constitution.

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There had also-- there is also, of course--

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Okay and, second, that the state has no compelling state interest.

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DMU Timestamp: November 11, 2010 18:20

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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 6:51PM) : You referred a little bit to history. Let me ask you a question based on history.
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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 6:52PM) : Okay.
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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 6:52PM) : You’re familiar with a Hippocratic Oath?
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 6:53PM) : I am.
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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 7:10PM) : I think I may have missed it, but I find no reference to it in this-- in your brief or in the luminous briefs that were overwhelmed with here. more

You have any comment about the Hippocratic Oath?

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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 7:14PM) : I think two things could be said. more

The first would be that situations and understandings change.

In this case, for example, we have before the Court a medical amicus brief that was joined by all of the deans of the public medical schools in Texas.

It was joined by numerous other professors of medicine.

It was joined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

You know—

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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 7:16PM) : There are other briefs in the other side joined by equally outstanding positions.
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Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 7:18PM) : None of theirs is--
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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 7:19PM) : But tell me why you didn’t discuss the Hippocratic Oath.
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Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 2:21PM) : {The Hippocratic Oath does not pertain to this case.] more

Okay.
I guess it was— okay, in part, because the Hippocratic Oath, we discuss basically the constitutional protection we felt the woman to have. The Hippocratic Oath does not pertain to that.

Second, we discuss the fact that the state had not established a compelling state interest. The Hippocratic Oath would not really pertain to that.

And then, we discuss the vagueness jurisdiction.
It seem to us that that— that the fact that the medical profession, at one time, had adopted the Hippocratic Oath does not weight upon the fundamental constitutional rights involved.

It is a guide for physicians, but the outstanding organizations of the medical profession have, in fact, adopted a position that says the doctor and the patient should be able to make the decision for themselves in this kind of situation.

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Nov 12
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 12 2010 7:26PM) : Of course, it’s the only definitive statement of ethics in the medical profession. more
I take it, from what you just said, that you’re— you didn’t even footnote it because it’s old. That’s about really what you’re saying.
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Nov 12
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 12 2010 7:32PM) : Well, I guess you-- it is old, and not that it’s out of date, but it seemed to us that it was not pertinent to the argument we were making.
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Nov 15
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 15 2010 4:29PM) : Let me ask another question. Last June 29, this Court decided the capital punishment cases.
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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
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Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 4:46PM) : Yes, sir.
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Nov 15
Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Nov 15 2010 4:49PM) : [A Question of Inconsistency] more

Do you feel that there is any inconsistency in the Court’s decision in those cases outlying the death penalty with respect to convicted murderers and rapists at one end of lifespan, and your position in this case at the other end of lifespan?

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[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
Nov 15
Ms. Sarah Weddington
[Roe v. Wade brought the issue of abortion to the Supreme Co… (more)
(Nov 15 2010 11:52AM) : I think had there been established that the fetus was a person under the Fourteenth Amendment or under constitutional protection then there might be a differentiation. more

In this case, there has never been established that the fetus is a person or that it’s entitled to the Fourteenth Amendment rights or the protection of the constitution.

It would be inconsistent to decide that, after birth, various classifications of persons would be subject to the death penalty or not but, here, we have a person, the woman, entitled to fundamental constitutional rights as opposed to the fetus prior to birth where there is no establishment of any kind of federal constitutional rights.

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