Tags: Constitutional Law
Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey is a Supreme Court case that upheld a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy in its early stages, as established in Roe v. Wade. The case concerns five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982, as amended in 1988 and 1989, which require informed consent and certain information for women seeking abortions, parental consent for minors with a judicial bypass option, and spousal notification for married women seeking abortions. The Supreme Court upholds the essential holding of Roe v. Wade, which includes a woman's right to choose to have an abortion before viability without undue interference from the State, the State's power to restrict abortions after fetal viability with exceptions for the woman's life or health, and the State's legitimate interests in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus from the outset of the pregnancy. The Court concludes that the essential holding of Roe v. Wade should be retained and reaffirmed. However, the lower court erred in upholding some of the provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects a woman's right to choose to have an abortion and other fundamental rights. It also protects substantive liberties, including those recognized by the Bill of Rights, against state interference. The Court must exercise reasoned judgment in interpreting the Constitution to adjudicate substantive due process claims, respecting the limits of its authority and not invalidating state policy choices simply because it disagrees with them.
The Supreme Court confirms the right to choose to have an abortion before viability without undue interference from the State. After viability, the State may regulate or even proscribe abortion, except where necessary for the preservation of the life or health of the mother. The Court allows the State to require truthful and non-misleading information about abortion. The court upholds the requirement for doctors to provide specific information to women seeking abortions for informed consent. A 24-hour waiting period is reasonable. A state cannot require spousal consent for abortion, but a minor seeking an abortion may need parental consent with a judicial bypass procedure. Reporting provisions are permissible if they respect patient confidentiality and preserve maternal health.
The Court reaffirms the principle of Roe v. Wade, recognizing a woman's right to bodily integrity and control over her own person, including the decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability. State restrictions on abortion must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest. The Pennsylvania informed-consent scheme is partially unconstitutional, and virtually identical provisions must be struck down as in prior cases. The mandatory 24-hour waiting period after providing information about abortion is unconstitutional and does not serve any legitimate state interest. The requirement of an in-person visit for parental consent is not narrowly tailored to serve the state's interest in encouraging parental involvement. States cannot require a woman to obtain her spouse's consent before having an abortion. The court upheld Pennsylvania's abortion laws, including informed consent, waiting period, parental consent or judicial bypass for minors, and spousal notification with exceptions.
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