Roe v. Wade

The Abortion Rights Controversy in American History

Second Edition, Revised and Expanded

N. E. H. Hull and Peter Charles Hoffer

Few Supreme Court decisions have stirred up as much controversy, vitriolic debate, and even violence as the one delivered in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Four decades later, it remains a touchstone for the culture wars in the United States and a pivot upon which much of our politics turns. With that in mind Peter Charles Hoffer and N. E. H. Hull have now taken stock of the abortion debates, controversies, and cases that have emerged during the past decade in order to update their best-selling book on this landmark case.

Like the original edition, the new one highlights the abortion issue's historical background; highlights Roe v. Wade's core issues, essential personalities, and key precedents; tracks the case's path through the courts; clarifies the jurisprudence behind the court's ruling in Roe; and gauges its impact on American society and subsequent challenges to it in Webster v. Reproductive Services (1989) and Casey v. Planned Parenthood (1992). The new edition, however, adds two completely new chapters covering abortion politics and legal battles in the post-9/11 era, along with a new preface and a much-revised epilogue and conclusion.

“The authors take an evenhanded approach to abortion without advocating a policy position or preaching the moral implications of either side. Thus it is well suited for the classroom as it allows the instructor to facilitate a debate on abortion without alienating large segments of students.”

Law and Politics Book Review

“A page-turner that is also very scholarly, this remarkable book should be popular with lay readers and law scholars alike.”

Publishers Weekly
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The new material covers, among other things, the surprising results from recent public opinion polls; the impact of the presidential elections of George W. Bush and Barack Obama; Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Sonia Sotomayor; two major 5-4 Supreme Court decisions—Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart—that confirmed the constitutionality of the "Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act"; the murder of abortion provider George Tiller by Scott Roeder and the latter's trial and conviction; and the appearance of the abortion issue in the debate over health care reform legislation.

About the Author

N. E. H. Hull is Distinguished Professor of Law at Rutgers University-Camden and the author and coauthor of more than a half dozen books including Roscoe Pound and Karl Llewellyn: Searching for an American Jurisprudence.

Peter Charles Hoffer is Distinguished Research Professor of History at the University of Georgia and the author and coauthor of more than a dozen books, including A Nation of Laws: America's Imperfect Pursuit of Justice.

Additional Titles in the Landmark Law Cases and American Society Series