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Gonzales v. Carhart

Citation. 550 U.S. 124 (2007)
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Brief Fact Summary.

An Act was passed to ban on abortions that involve partial delivery of a living fetus. Congress argues that it furthers the government’s objectives and should be held valid.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

The government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman. The State maintains its own regulatory interest in protecting the life of the fetus that may become a child.


The surgical procedure referred to as “D & E” is the usual abortion method in the second trimester. In such procedure, the doctor inserts grasping forceps through the woman’s cervix and into the uterus to grab the fetus, evacuating the fetus piece by piece until completely removed. An Act was passed to ban on abortions that involve partial delivery of a living fetus.


Is the Act that bans abortions that involve partial delivery of a living fetus constitutional?


Yes, because the respondents have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in large fraction of relevant cases by showing that the Act would put women to significant health risks or that the Act would result in medical uncertainties as to the health of women.


Justice Ginsburg

The majority admits that “moral concerns” are at work, concerns that would yield prohibitions on any abortion. The majority’s solution, however, is not to require doctors to inform women of different procedures and potential risks. Instead, the majority deprives women of their right to make an autonomous choice, even at the expense of their safety.


The Act is not invalid on its face where there is uncertainty over whether the barred procedure is necessary to preserve a woman’s health, given the availability of other abortion procedures that are considered to be safe alternatives. The respondents have failed to demonstrate the the Act would be unconstitutional in other relevant cases. Moreover, the State has an interest in ensuring so grave a choice in adopting a law that deals with health of individuals.

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