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5 important things to know about Roe v. Wade

Future Chief Justice Rehnquist dissented

Justice William Rehnquist, who would later serve as chief justice of the Supreme Court from 1986 until he died in 2005, authored a dissent to the decision.

Rehnquist took issue with the majority’s view that abortion constituted a right to privacy, writing that “an operation such as this is not ‘private’ in the ordinary usage of that word.”

“If the Texas statute were to prohibit an abortion even where the mother’s life is in jeopardy, I have little doubt that such a statute would lack a rational relation to a valid state objective,” he said.

“But the Court’s sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under that standard, and the conscious weighing of competing factors that the Court’s opinion apparently substitutes for the established test is far more appropriate to a legislative judgment than to a judicial one.”

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