Roe v. Wade

Decided January 22, 1973

The Supreme Court of the United States found that a constitutional right to privacy prohibited interference with a woman's obtaining an abortion. The Catholic Church was one of the few institutional voices opposing the decision at the time, leading to the abortion issue being construed then and since largely as a religious one. Though a majority of Catholics have agreed with the hierarchy in their insistence on legal protection of the unborn, some—including prominent politicians—have not, leading to perennial controversies concerning the responsibilities of Catholics in American public life.