January 22, 1973: Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 finally decided in the Supreme Court by a 7 to 2 majority. The court held that under the Fourteenth Amendment most U.S. abortion laws are unconstitutional.
Specifically, the court held that until the fetus is “viable” (or able to live outside the mother’s womb, a development usually occurring at from 24 to 28 weeks) a woman can have an abortion for any reason she sees fit.
October 11, 1972: Case reargued due to the late addition of Justice Powell and Justice Rehnquist to the court.
December 13, 1971: An appeal of the decision of the district court sends the case into its first round of U.S. Supreme Court arguments.
1970: Seeking a legal abortion, Jane Roe, 21, files suit in against defendant Henry Wade in Texas’ Dallas Country District Court. The Texas court rules in Roe’s favor.