Citation. 510 U.S. 1309; 114 S. Ct. 909,127 L. Ed. 2d 352,1994 U.S.
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Brief Fact Summary.
Although the other challenged provisions of the Act were upheld, the provision in the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 requiring a married woman, except in limited circumstances, to notify her husband before having an abortion was held unconstitutional.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
The Supreme Court of the United States rejected the trimester framework of Roe v. Wade and employed a new “undue burden” test that invalidates a provision of a law if its purpose or effect is to place a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.
The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 contained certain provisions that were challenged as being unconstitutional. First, the Act requires that a woman seeking an abortion give her informed consent prior to the abortion procedure and specifies that she be provided with certain information at least 24 hours before the abortion is performed. Second, the Act requires a minor obtain parental consent, but provides for a judicial bypass. Third, the Act requires that, unless certain exceptions apply, a married woman seeking an abortion must sign a statement indicating that she has notified her husband of her intended abortion. Finally, the Act imposes reporting requirements on facilities that provide abortion services. The Act exempts these conditions in the event of a “medical emergency.” Before these provisions took effect, Petitioner, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, brought this suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief. Each provision was challenged
as being unconstitutional on its face. The District Court held all the provisions at issue unconstitutional. The Court of Appeals upheld all of the regulations except for the husband notification requirement.
Whether the provision requiring that a woman seeking an abortion give her informed consent prior to the abortion procedure and specifies that she be provided with certain information at least twenty-four hours before the abortion is performed is constitutional.
Whether the provision requiring a minor obtain parental consent, but providing for a judicial bypass is constitutional.
Whether the provision requiring that, unless certain exceptions apply, a married woman seeking an abortion must sign a statement indicating that she has notified her husband of her intended abortion is constitutional.
Whether the provision requiring reporting requirements on facilities that provide abortion services is constitutional.
Whether the holdings of this case result in a overruling of Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.Ct. 705, 35 L.Ed.2d 147 (1973).
Yes. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirmed. Applying the undue burden test, the Court found that there was no evidence on the record showing that requiring a doctor to give information as provided by the statute, would amount to a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion. Therefore, no undue burden exists and the provision is constitutional.
Yes. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirmed. If neither a parent nor a guardian provides consent, a court may authorize an abortion upon the determination that the minor woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent and has in fact given her informed consent or that the abortion would be in her best interests. By providing a judicial bypass to this requirement, there is no undue burden. The provision is constitutional.
No. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirmed. The Court found that in a large fraction of cases in which this provision is relevant (pregnancies with an abusive husband or from extramarital affairs), it will operate as a substantial obstacle in a woman’s choice to undergo an abortion. The husband’s interest in the life of the child does not permit a state to empower him with this degree of authority over his wife. This provision creates an undue burden and is therefore invalid.
Yes. Judgment of the Court of Appeals affirmed. Since the identity of each woman receiving an abortion remains confidential, the provision requiring reporting requirements on facilities that provide abortion services is constitutional.
The essential holding of Roe v. Wade should be retained and affirmed. The basic decision in Roe v. Wade was based on a constitutional analysis which cannot be repudiated. The Court concluded that the line should be drawn at viability, so that any time before viability, a woman has a right to choose to terminate her pregnancy.
Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided and should be overruled. Each of the challenged provisions is constitutional because the state may regulate abortion procedures in ways rationally related to a legitimate state interest.
Applying the rational basis test, the Act should be upheld in its entirety. This is an issue that should not be decided by the Court. The Court should have no right to decide such an issue involving life and death, but rather it is up to the democratic process to make such decisions.
Concurrence. The Court is correct in holding that the state may take steps to ensure that a woman’s choice is “thoughtful and informed” and that the states may “enact laws to provide a reasonable framework for a woman to make a decision that has such profound and lasting meaning.” However, the information requirements do not serve a useful purpose and thus constitute an undue burden on a woman’s constitutional liberty to decide to terminate her pregnancy.
The dissent’s criticism of Roe v. Wade follows from a stunted conception of individual liberty, reinforced by an exclusive reliance on tradition as a source of fundamental rights.
The Court maintained the Roe v. Wade viability concept to use when determining when a state may regulate a woman’s pregnancy. However, by adopting the new undue burden test in this case, the Court made it more difficult to establish that a law unduly burdens the right to choose an abortion than it was under Roe v. Wade.