January 21, 1977
U.S. President Jimmy Carter pardons the Vietnam draft dodgers. This pardoned those who violated the draft between August 4, 1964 and March 28, 1973. It is estimated that over 500,000 men had dodged the draft. However, this did not pardon military personnel who went AWOL.
Roe v. Wade
January 22, 1973
U.S. Supreme Court rules that a state may not prevent a woman from having an abortion during the first six months of pregnancy.
The ruling was based on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, contending that it provides a “right to privacy” that protects a pregnant woman’s right to choose whether or not to have an abortion. The ruling also tied state regulation of abortion to the three trimesters of pregnancy: during the first trimester, governments could not prohibit abortions at all; during the second trimester, governments could require reasonable health regulations; during the third trimester, abortions could be prohibited entirely so long as the laws contained exceptions for cases when they were necessary to save the life or health of the mother.
January 23, 1978
Founding member of the band Chicago, Terry Kath, accidentally kills himself playing with a gun. It was just eight days shy of his 32nd birthday.
He was at a friend’s playing with several of his guns when he pointed a .38 revolver at his head and pulled the trigger. It was not loaded. He then picked up a semi-automatic 9-mm pistol, stating “Don’t worry about it, look, the clip is not even in it.” Kath then inserted the clip into the gun, placed it against his temple and pulled the trigger. Apparently Kath didn’t realize the gun had a round in the chamber. He died instantly.
Kath was the lead guitarist, singer, and founding member of the band Chicago. Mostly self taught, he is considered on of the greatest guitarists of all time.