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Every age has its issue and ours may be abortion. It has posed many challenges to the Supreme Court, above all that of reexamining the long discredited doctrine of substantive due process. The 1973 ruling in favor ofthe individual woman's right to choose to have an abortion sharply divided the Court and over the next two decades the Court has had to revisit the issue to see whether the initial ruling should be affirmed, as indeed it has been.
Beyond that, the Court has had to find a place within the constitutional order for the losers: To what extent shall those opposed to abortion be allowed to air their views and keep the controversy alive? Because the pro-life forces have not been content to advance their cause only through the ballot box or the courts, but have most decidedly taken to the streets, specifically to picket abortion clinics and the doctors who work in them, the abortion controversy has also forced the Supreme Court to probe the limits of the First Amendment and its guarantee of free speech. This is my subject.
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