On Jan. 22, 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade and its companion case, Doe v. Bolton. The Court ruled that abortion must be permitted for any reason before fetal viability—and that it must be permitted for “health” reasons, broadly defined in Doe (so as to encompass virtually any reason), all the way until birth. Roe and Doe legalized abortion on demand nationwide.
The New York Times proclaimed the verdict “a historic resolution of a fiercely controversial issue.” But now, 41 years later, abortion is as unresolved and controversial as ever. Three intractable problems will continue to plague the Court and its abortion jurisprudence until the day when, finally, Roe is overturned.