Planned Parenthood v. Casey; Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Petitioners 91-744 v. Robert P. Casey Petitioners 91-902 v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, No. 91-744 Supreme Court of The United States 505 U.S. 833; 112 S. Ct. 2791; 1992 U.S. LEXIS 4751; 120 L. Ed. 2d 674; 60 U.S.L.W. 4795; 92 Daily Journal DAR 8982; 6 Fla. Law W. Fed. S 663
June 29, 1992, Decided *
* Together with No. 91-902, Casey, Governor of Pennsylvania,
et al. v. Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania et
al., also on certiorari to the same court.
CORE TERMS: abortion, woman, pregnancy, regulation, undue, fetus, pregnant, viability, spousal, trimester, emergency, stare, decisis, terminate, childbirth, obstacle, parental, married, unborn, waiting, reporting, bodily, overruling, notify, notification, fetal, maternal, patient, marriage, reproductive
HELD: Pennsylvania abortion legislation held valid, except for spousal-notice provisions, under due process clause of Federal Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment.
FACTS: In 1988 and 1989, a Pennsylvania abortion statute was amended to provide that (1) a woman seeking an abortion is required to give her informed consent prior to the abortion procedure and to be provided, at least 24 hours before the abortion is performed, with certain information concerning her decision whether to undergo an abortion, (2) a minor seeking an abortion is required to obtain the informed consent of one of her parents or guardians, but has available a judicial bypass option if the minor does not wish to or cannot obtain such consent, (3) unless certain exceptions apply, a married woman seeking an abortion is required to sign a statement indicating that she has notified her husband of her intended abortion, (4) compliance with the foregoing requirements is exempted in the event of a "medical emergency," which term is defined in another statutory provision as a pregnant woman's medical condition that on the basis of a physician's good-faith clinical judgment, necessitates an immediate abortion to avert the woman's death or to avert a serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function, and (5) facilities providing abortion services are subject to certain reporting and record-keeping requirements, which do not include the disclosure of the identities of women who have undergone abortions, but which include a requirement of reporting of a married woman's failure to provide notice to her husband of her intended abortion. Before any of these provisions took effect, five abortion clinics and one physician representing himself as well as a class of physicians who provided abortion services brought suit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief on the basis of the allegation that each provision was unconstitutional on its face. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, after entering a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the provisions, held that all the provisions were unconstitutional and entered a permanent injunction against the state's enforcement of the provisions (744 F Supp 1323). The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed in part and reversed in part, upholding all the provisions except for the spousal-notice requirement (947 F2d 682).
JOINT OPINION by O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ. and joined in pertinent part by Stevens and Blackmun, JJ.:
- the statutory provision defining a medical emergency did not impose an undue burden on a womans abortion rights and thus it did not violate the due process clause. This was especially true in light of the construction by the Court of Appeals to include serious conditions that could lead to an illness with substantial and irreversible consequences.
- the provision requiring spousal notice violated the due process. In essence, it allowed a husband to wield an unconstitutional veto over his wife's decision concerning an abortion; and
- The principles of institutional integrity as well as the rule of stare decisis required that the court uphold the essential holding of Roe v Wade be retained and reaffirmed.
ALSO, O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter, JJ., opined that:
- the provision mandating the 24-hour waiting period did not violate the due process clause, because it did not place an undue burden upon a woman's right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy;
- prior Supreme Court cases have upheld a parental consent requirement and thus the provision requiring parental consent did not violate the due process clause;
- the record-keeping and reporting requirements related to maternal health and did not pose a substantial obstacle to a woman's choice and thus did not violate the due process clause;
- requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice violated the due process clause by placing an undue burden on a woman's choice; and
- the trimester framework of Roe v Wade should be rejected.
Stevens, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part:
- Roe v Wade should be upheld because it represents an integral part of a correct understanding of liberty and the basic equality of men and women;
- a state interested in protecting fetal life after viability could go so far as to proscribe abortion during that period, except when an abortion was necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother;
- a state could promote its preference for normal childbirth by funding childbirth, creating and maintaining alternatives to abortion, and espousing the virtues of family, but must respect an individual's freedom to choose between childbirth and abortion;
- the court properly determined that (a) the medical emergency provision was valid, (b) the provision requiring spousal notice was invalid, and (c) the provisions requiring record keeping and reporting were valid, except that the provision requiring reporting of failure to provide spousal notice was invalid; and
- with respect to the statutory provision concerning informed consent, (a) provisions which mandated that a physician or counselor to provide a woman with materials clearly designed to persuade against undergoing an abortion was unconstitutional, and (b) the 24-hour waiting period was unconstitutional, because there is no evidence that the mandated delay benefited women or was necessary to convey any relevant information.
Blackmun, J., concurring in the judgment in part, and dissenting in part:
- strict scrutiny should be applied;
- state restrictions on abortion (a) violated a woman's right of privacy because they infringed on her right to bodily integrity and deprived her of the right to make her own decision about reproduction and family planning;
- the trimester framework required in Roe v Wade should be upheld; and
- except for the medical emergency provision which the court properly held valid, stare decisis and application of the strict scrutiny standard necessitated the invalidation of all the challenged statutory provisions.
Rehnquist, Ch. J., joined by White, Scalia, and Thomas, JJ., concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part:
- Roe v Wade should be overruled;
- a woman's interest in having an abortion is a form of liberty protected by the due process clause. However, states may regulate abortion procedures if they have legitimate state interest; and
- the challenged statutory provisions should be upheld in their entirety under the test of the previous point, i.e. relation to a legitimate state interest..
Scalia, J., joined by Rehnquist, Ch. J., and White and Thomas, JJ., concurring in the judgment in part and dissenting in part,
- abortion is not a liberty protected by the Federal Constitution, because (a) the Constitution does not explicitly address abortion, and (b) the longstanding traditions of American society permitted abortion to be legally proscribed;
- the courts should apply a rational-basis test;
- Roe v Wade should be overruled;
- the undue burden standard, presented in this is inherently flawed and would prove unworkable in practice.
| Return to Topic Menu | Return to Main Menu |