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Street Law, Inc. and The Supreme Court Historical Society present

Landmark Cases of the U.S. Supreme Court

Street Law / Landmark Cases / Cases / Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade (1973)

Abortion, Right to Privacy

“We … 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.” — Justice Blackmun (1973), majority opinion in Roe v. Wade

Jane Roe was an unmarried and pregnant Texas resident in 1970. Texas law made it a felony to abort a fetus unless “on medical advice for the purpose of saving the life of the mother.”  Roe filed suit against Wade, the district attorney of Dallas County, contesting the statue on the grounds that it violated the guarantee of personal liberty and the right to privacy implicitly guaranteed in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments. In deciding for Roe, the Supreme Court invalidated any state laws that prohibited first trimester abortions.

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About the materials

These materials were developed for students of various skill levels, and teachers should choose the level that works best for their students.  Answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities can be found in the FOR TEACHERS ONLY tab under each case.

Background summary and questions to consider (by reading level)

Important vocabulary (by reading level)

Legal Concepts

Other useful background information

Street Law Activities*

The Case

After the Case

* Answers to the background questions, vocabulary, and activities can be found in the FOR TEACHERS ONLY tab under each case.

Teaching strategies used

Planning time and activities

If you have one day . . .

If you have two days . . .

  • Do all of the activities recommended for the first day.
  • Discuss answers to Classifying Arguments. Ask students which arguments they think will prevail and why.
  • Read the Dissenting Opinions.
  • It might also be a good idea to revisit the political cartoons now that students have a better understanding of the case.

If you have three days . . .

For Teachers Only

This section contains answers and tips for differentiated instruction for select activities. To gain access, simply sign in.

If you are new to LandmarkCases.org and don't already have an account, please create one. You will then complete your registration by filling out a brief registration form.

Contact: If you have questions/problems registering or accessing the teacher only materials, please contact Christina Barnett (cbarnett@streetlaw.org, 240.821.1324).

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