The Court's Personal Path to Roe v. Wade

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An abortion rights advocate  argues with anti-abortion activists outside the Supreme Court.

Abortion rights advocate Johannes Schimdt (left) argues with anti-abortion activists in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building on Tuesday. Mark Wilson/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Mark Wilson/Getty Images

This week marks the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. As legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin reports, today's court is deeply divided on the issue.

In 2007, the court upheld a ban on late-term abortion. The majority opinion, says Toobin, suggested that any protections for the right to abortion are "hanging by a thread right now."

Toobin, a staff writer at the New Yorker, a CNN analyst and author of The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, says the justices each took a very personal path to his or her current position.

Justice Samuel Alito, one of the court's newest members, always said he disagreed with the 1973 decision.

"It's totally clear where Alito is coming from on Roe v. Wade," Toobin says.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg sits on the other side of the fence. Toobin says Ginsburg believes there are more ways to protect the right to abortion than the privacy argument put forward in Roe.

"Ginsburg thinks that if the state forces a woman to continue a pregnancy against her will, that is a violation of equal protection, that's a violation of the 14th Amendment," he says.



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