Five Myths About Roe v. Wade

Marc Stein calls our attention to five myths about this landmark Supreme Court case on its 40th anniversary.  Stein is the author of Sexual Injustice:  Supreme Court Decisions from Griswold to Roe.

1. Roe endorsed abortion on demand.”

2. “Roe rejected traditional restrictions and religious prohibitions on abortion.”

3. “Roe was a strongly feminist decision.”

4. “Roe recognized constitutional rights of sexual privacy.”

5. “Roe was only supported by big-government Democratic liberals and it was invariably opposed by small-government Republic conservaties.”

See how Stein develops his thoughts on these “myths” here.

One thought on “Five Myths About Roe v. Wade

  1. Stein: Blackmun devoted a substantial part of his Supreme Court opinion to a broad historical overview of the legal status of abortion in the West, which led him to conclude that the restrictive abortion laws under consideration by the justices were “of relatively recent vintage” and “not of ancient or even of common-law origin.”

    The Blackmun decision was one of the greatest travesties of perverting history in the history of the real world, John.

    Historians may [should be] interested in how Harry Bluckmun [mis]used the history of abortion as offered by abortion rights advocates, particularly those from NARAL.

    Refuting the Myths of Abortion History
    BY Susan Wills, Ph.D.

    “In a soon to be published book, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History (Carolina Academic Press, 2006), Villanova Law School Professor Joseph W. Dellapenna convincingly refutes revisionist pseudo-histories of pre-Roe v. Wade abortion law and practice.

    At 1,300 pages, with 2,000 cases cited and 9,000 footnotes, one might conclude his is an academic exercise of limited interest to the public. One would be wrong.

    Truth matters. The entire edifice of U.S. abortion law is constructed on lies and deceptions–lies about when life begins, the scope of “privacy” in the Constitution, the meaning of the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, about applicable (but ignored) precedents, and, significantly, about the history of abortion law and practice.

    The Supreme Court's rationale in Roe v. Wade for finding a right to abortion in the U.S. Constitution was grounded squarely on one of the earliest and most fraudulent versions of abortion “history,” concocted by Cyril Means, Jr., general counsel for the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL).

    Justice Harry Blackmun, Roe's author, devotes fully half of that opinion to a pseudo-history of abortion, relying heavily on two articles by Means, citing them seven times. Sarah Weddington, who represented “Jane Roe,” arguing for a right to abortion, stated that “the Justices had copies of Means' articles on the bench with them during the oral arguments” (Dellapenna, 144). Weddington referred to Means' version of abortion history three times in her oral argument.”

    &c. The travesty continues, shamefully abetted by uncritical academics whose politics pre-empt their curiosity about the historical truth. See also


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