The case involved a Texas statute that prohibited abortion except when necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman.  

The Supreme Court, in a decision written by Justice Blackmun, recognized a privacy interest in abortions. 

The Court divided the pregnancy period into three trimesters. During the first trimester, the decision to terminate the pregnancy was solely at the discretion of the woman. 

After the first trimester, the state could “regulate procedure.” During the second trimester, the state could regulate (but not outlaw) abortions in the interests of the mother’s health. 

The fetus became viable, and the state could regulate or outlaw abortions in the interest of the potential life except when necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother. 

Justice White and Justice Rehnquist’s separate dissents emphasized that the people and the legislatures, not the Court, should weigh this matter. 

Justice White argued, “Its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court….”  

“he Court’s sweeping invalidation of any restrictions on abortion during the first trimester is impossible to justify under the standard….”