NARAL Pro-Choice Montana
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Reproductive Freedom & The Courts

Americans who value freedom and privacy must remain committed to protecting the independence and objectivity of our courts. The federal judiciary, composed of the U.S. Supreme Court and lower federal courts, has historically played a key role in ensuring civil rights for ordinary Americans.

In 1973, the Supreme Court guaranteed a woman's right to choose abortion with its landmark decision Roe v. Wade. In the last three decades, the Court has repeatedly upheld Roe's core principles, but it has limited its protections for many women and continues to take cases from lower federal courts in which opponents of legal abortion have tried to restrict women's access to reproductive choice.

Although the right to choose is guaranteed by the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, state legislatures have moved aggressively to restrict women's access to reproductive health services. Often, those restrictions are challenged on a legal basis, making the court system one of the most important fronts in the ongoing struggle to protect the right to choose.

Right now, the nine justices are narrowly divided on issues related to reproductive health: three justices support the constitutional right to choose; four oppose the constitutional right to choose; one has yet to rule on any cases addressing a woman's right to choose; and one has a mixed record on the right to choose, and has voted to uphold substantial restrictions, including the Federal Abortion Ban.

Where do the current justices stand on the right to choose?

Supreme Court Cases
For more than 30 years, the Supreme Court has issued decisions that affect ordinary Americans' lives from the use of birth control to women's access to safe, legal abortion care.

 
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