Judge had questions about Doe vs. Bolton abortion case

On the same day that Roe vs. Wade was decided, a lesser-known court ruling, Doe vs. Bolton, was also passed. This case pertained to another woman who lawyer said wanted an abortion. In reality, the woman, Sandra Cano, was never seeking an abortion and was tricked into signing the papers.  The case resulted in a decision that said states could never restrict abortion in any way unless there was an exception for the woman’s health. However, Doe vs. Bolton defined “health” very broadly, including emotional health and the women’s age.

It seems that the Chief Justice had doubts about the validity of the case from the beginning, but because he intended to legalize abortion, he ignored them:

“In his notes to [Justice] Blackmun, [Justice] Brennan expressed doubts that “Mary Doe” actually existed and observed that because she was “apparently a resident of Georgia, she seems to lack standing to raise the rights of nonresidents…It may be best to finesse that question.”

David M. Wagner “Roe v. Wade and the Deformation of Constitutional Law” Washington Watch  Quoted in:

Troy Clark, Ph.D. Abortion Every 90 Seconds: The Whole Story (Kindle, 2015)

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Author: Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.

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