The Unjustified Decision of Roe v. Wade and the Equal Protection Clause


  • Mathilde Buch Andersen Aarhus University



Roe v. Wade, abortion rights, Equal Protection Clause, 14th Amendment


In the 1973 Roe v. Wade case, abortion rights were secured in the United States by use of the argument that the U.S. Constitution provided an implicit right to privacy, which could be found in various amendments. This article aims to show how the right to privacy was not a solid foundation for securing abortion rights. Instead, this article will focus on how Roe v. Wade could have strengthened its position by emphasizing the explicit Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The use of the Equal Protection Clause could potentially have served as a justification for asserting the right to abortion on the basis of gender equality.


Primary sources

Eisenstadt v. Baird. 405 U.S. 438 (March 22, 1972).

Griswold v. Connecticut. 381 U.S. 479 (June 7, 1965).

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey. 505 U.S. 833 (April 22, 1992).

Roe v. Wade. 410 U.S. 113 (January 22, 1973).

Secondary sources

Bachiochi, Erika. “Embodied Equality: Debunking Equal Protection Arguments for Abortion Rights.” Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, vol. 34, no. 3, 2011, pp. 889–950.

Beck, Randy. “Self-Conscious ‘Dicta’: The Origins of Roe v. Wade’s Trimester Framework.” The American Journal of Legal History, vol. 51, no. 3, 2011, pp. 505–529.

Ginsburg, Ruth B. “Some Thoughts on Autonomy and Equality in Relation to Roe v. Wade.” North Carolina Law Review, vol. 63, no. 2, 1985, pp. 375–386.

Lambert, Victoria C., Hackworth, Emily E., and Billings, Deborah L. “Qualitative Analysis of Anti-Abortion Discourse Used in Arguments for a 6-Week Abortion Ban in South Carolina.” Frontiers in Global Women’s Health, vol. 4, 2023, pp. 1–12.

Ziegler, Mary. Reproduction and the Constitution in the United States. New York: Routledge, 2022.




How to Cite

Andersen, M. (2024). The Unjustified Decision of Roe v. Wade and the Equal Protection Clause. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (10), 16–25.