Chicago Maroon on Justice Ginsburg's Conversation with Geof Stone

Ginsburg offers alternative, critical perspective on Roe
Marina Fang
Chicago Maroon
May 14, 2013

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recounted her work on women’s rights cases that led up to the decision in Roe v. Wade at an event analyzing the events of the 40 years since the case at the Law School on Saturday. Despite her continual support for a woman’s right to choose, Ginsburg expressed misgivings regarding the Court’s monumental 1973 ruling.

Interviewed by Law School Professor Geoffrey Stone—who clerked for Justice William Brennan from 1972–1973, one of the justices that decidedRoe v. Wade—Ginsburg recalled that before Roe, there were few options for a woman with an unwanted pregnancy.

“For most young women, the option was to marry the guy,” she said.

With a 7–2 majority, the Court ruled every abortion ban across the country unconstitutional in Roe v. Wade.Ginsburg said that she would have supported a more incremental approach had she been on the Court then, noting that previous women’s rights cases were decided on a more narrow reading of the Constitution. Many of these she argued before the Court, as the first director and chief litigator of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).