In the controversial case, Roe v. Wade, a pregnant woman who was given the name Jane Roe to hide her identity attempted to get an abortion but they were illegal in Texas so she sued the state for invasion of privacy. Roe's real name is Norma McCorvey; she was an ex-carnival worker who was raped and became pregnant. In 1969, when she moved back to her home state, she was denied and abortion on grounds that her health was not threatened. She started to look for other options, such as an abortion clinic out of the country, but those were too risky. She had given up searching for a safe, clinical abortion when two lawyers contacted her about her story.
These lawyers were Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington. Weddington had herself been through the search for an abortion clinic that was decent. She was lucky; she was able to live in Mexico for several weeks and could pay the high price for a safe abortion. Weddington did not want others to go through the insecurity of an illegal abortion like she had. Coffee was a practiced lawyer who was a strong supporter of abortions. John and Mary Doe, a couple that had offered their services in a previous abortion case, approached Coffee and Weddington who quickly included them in the case. Coffee and Wellington made a perfect couple to head up the fight against the District Attorney of Texas, Henry Wade. Wade had been the District Attorney for twenty years and on March 6, 1970 he received the paper that stated Jane Roe and John and Mary Doe were suing him. He had shown many times before his firm beliefs in preserving the Texas abortion laws. Henry Wade chose one of his most capable lawyers, John Tolle, to defend him in this suit.
The case was retried in the Supreme Court then the justices deliberated. Blackmun was to revise the courts opinion after getting input from other justices. He broke a pregnancy into trimesters to please Burger who shot down the first statement. The decision was not going anywhere so Stewart issued and ultimatum to Burger stating that he has to vote one way or the other or they would make the decision without him. Burger would not have missed voting for a landmark cases so he decided to vote with the majority. On January 22, 1972 Henry Balckmun read the court's opinion stating,
We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires. One's philosophy, one's experiences, one's exposure to the raw edges of human experience, one's religious training, one's attitudes toward life and family and their values, and the moral standards one establishes and seeks to observe, are all likely to influence and to color one's thinking and conclusions about abortion. (Roe ...