In Roe v. Wade (1973), the Supreme Court established that under the Fourteenth Amendment, which protects a person’s liberty interest against state deprivation without due process of law, a person has a right to choose to have an abortion before the end of the first trimester . The Court concluded that when a pregnancy reached this point, state interests in the life of the fetus are high enough to permit states to prohibit abortions or take efforts to promote the state’s interest. Nonetheless, even after that point the state could not regulate or prohibit abortion where such care was necessary for a person’s life or health.
This decision in Roe v. Wade meant that states did not have the right to ban abortion. Barred from flat-out banning abortion, states have passed more than 1,300 laws and restrictions that make it harder and more expensive to get an abortion. However, the court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson overturned the constitutional right to seek abortion care established in Roe.