• 40 years ago Tuesday

Dennis Byrne tells us something in his Tuesday Tribune column that I’d forgotten—if I ever knew it in the first place—and surely almost all his other readers had forgotten too.

Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling 40 years ago that established a constitutional right to abortion, was not handed down alone. Byrne explains that Roe established a right to abortion “to preserve a woman’s health,” but that this right is less than absolute (a limitation Byrne calls “reasonable”). It was the companion ruling, in Doe v. Bolton, that put flesh on the bones of the concept of a woman’s health—far too much flesh for Byrne. He writes, “Doe‘s interpretation of the meaning of ‘health’ is so broad that it encompasses just about every possible reason—real or concocted—put forward by the woman and her doctor to legally justify an abortion up to and including the moment of birth.”