Five provisions of the PA Abortion Control Act of 1982 are at issue here.
Requires a 24 hour waiting period.
Requires parental consent for a minor (with allowance for judicial bypass).
Requires a signed statement indicating spousal consent.
Exemptions from these requirements can be obtained in the event of a medical emergency.
Imposes certain reporting requirements on facilities that provide abortion services.
SCOTUS held for Casey, upheld.
What rights does a woman have regarding obtaining an abortion?
Does the spousal notification requirement create an undue burden/substantial obstacle for women who want to have an abortion?
The essential holding of Roe should be retained and reaffirmed.
First, a woman has the right to choose to have an abortion before viability without undue interference by the state.
Before viability, the state's interests are not strong enough to support prohibition of abortion or the imposition of substantial obstacles to this right.
Second, a state has the power to restrict abortions after fetal viability as long as the law contains exceptions for pregnancies that endanger the woman's life or health.
Third, a State has a legitimate interest in protecting the health of a woman and the life of a fetus that may become a child.
However, the trimester distinctions used in Roe are overruled, as well as the use of strict scrutiny for evaluating government regulations of abortion.
The spousal notification requirement creates an undue burden/substantial obstacle for women who want to have an abortion.
Holding that the constitution only protects those rights that were protected against government interference by other rules of law when the 14th Amendment was ratified would be inconsistent with our law, as would holding that only those rights enumerated by the Bill of Rights were protected.
It is a promise of the Constitution that there is a realm of personal liberty which the gov't may not enter.
Adjudication of substantive DP claims may call upon the Court to exercise reasonable judgment in interpreting the Constitution.
Cannot impose a moral code; underlying question is whether a woman should lack all choice in the matter of pregnancy.
Stare decisis is one reason that the holding of Roe must be affirmed.
In this case we must inquire whether Roe's central rule has been found unworkable: whether the limitation it placed on state power could be removed without serious inequity or whether the law's growth has left Roe's rule a doctrinal anachronism.
The ability of women to participate equally in economic and social life has been facilitated by their ability to control their reproductive lives.
Roe is not a survivor of obsolete constitutional thinking. However, time has overtaken some of Roe's factual assumptions.
Advances in maternal health care allow for abortions safe to the mother later in pregnancy.
Advances in neonatal care have advanced viability to a point somewhat earlier.
However, these developments only go to the scheme of time limits on the realization of competing interests, but have no bearing on the validity of Roe's central holding.
The woman's liberty to terminate a pregnancy is not so unlimited that the State cannot show its concern for the life of the unborn and, at a later point in fetal development the State's interest has sufficient force so that the right of the woman to terminate the pregnancy can be restricted.
We conclude that the line should be drawn at viability; before this time a woman has a right to choose to terminate her pregnancy.
Viability is the time at which there is a realistic possibility of maintaining and nourishing a life outside the womb, so that the independent existence of the second life can in reason and all fairness be the object of state protection that now overrides the rights of the woman.
Can be said that a woman who fails to act before viability has consented to the State's interference on behalf of the developing child.
Trimester approach, however, is not necessary to accomplish the objective of ensuring that a woman's right to choose does not become subordinate to the State's interest.
State is not prohibited from taking steps to ensure that the choice to terminate is thoughtful and informed.
State can express a preference for carrying the child to term.
Only where state regulation imposes an undue burden on a woman's ability to procure an abortion does the power of the State reach into the heart of the liberty protected by the DPC.
Undue burden= substantial obstacle.
Means chosen by the state to further its interest in the potential life of the fetus must be calculated to inform the woman's free choice, not hinder it.
Regulations that do no more than create a structural mechanism by which the State, or the parent or guardian of a minor, may express profound respect for the life of the unborn are permitted if they are not a substantial obstacle to the choice.
The vast majority of women notify their male partners before they get an abortion.
Of those who do not, the pregnancy is usually the result of a extramarital affair or they are experiencing marital difficulties, often accompanied by incidents of violence.
Nearly 1 in 8 women are abused every year, and that number is probably an underestimate.
Indeed, in well-functioning marriages, spouses discuss important intimate decisions like this.
But there are millions of women in this country who are the victims of regular physical and psychological abuse at the hands of their husbands.
Should these women become pregnant, they may have good reasons for not wishing to inform their husbands of their decision to obtain an abortion.
Victims of spousal sexual assault are extremely reluctant to report the abuse to the gov't; therefore, a great many spousal rape victims will not be exempt from the notification requirement after they have been sexually assaulted.
The spousal notification requirement is thus likely to prevent a significant number of women from obtaining an abortion.
It does not merely make abortions a little more difficult or expensive to obtain; for many women, it will impose a substantial obstacle.
Even though the law will only affect 1% of women who want an abortion, this is enough to make the law unconstitutional.
The focus of constitutional inquiry is the group for whom the law is a restriction, not the group for whom the law is irrelevant.
While the husband has an interest in the unborn child, this interest does not outweigh the wife's liberty.
Otherwise, pregnant women would have to notify their husbands before they engaged in conduct dangerous to the fetus.
Smoking and drinking, etc.
A state may not give to a man the kind of dominion over his wife that parents exercise over their children.
Blackmun (concurring in part, concurring in judgment in part, dissenting in part)
Four justices are basically awaiting the arrival of a fifth vote to extinguish Roe altogether.
The right to reproductive choice is entitled to the full protection afforded by this Court before Webster.
State restrictions on abortion violate a woman's right of privacy in two ways:
First, they infringe on a woman's right to bodily integrity by imposing risk of physical harm.
Second, they deprive a woman of the right to make her own decisions about reproduction and family planning.
This has a big impact on educational and employment opportunities.
Strict scrutiny of state limitations on reproductive choices in the most secure protection of the woman's right to make her own reproductive decision. It should not be disturbed.
Rehnquist and Scalia (concurring in the judgment in part, dissenting in part)
Roe was wrongly decided and should be overturned.
Abortion involves the purposeful termination of a potential life, and therefore must be analyzed completely differently from other family privacy and autonomy rights.
The state has a legitimate interest in protecting the interests of the father and in protecting the potential life of the fetus.
The spousal notification requirement is reasonably related to advancing those state interests.
The participation might, in some cases, result in a decision to proceed with the pregnancy.
The spousal notice requirement is a rational attempt by the state to improve truthful communication between spouses and encourage collaborative decision making, and thereby foster marital integrity.
It is unrealistic to assume that every husband-wife relationship is either
So perfect that this type of truthful communication will take place as a matter of course, or
So imperfect that, upon notice, the husband will react selfishly, violently, or contrary to the best interests of his wife.
The existence of particular cases in which a feature of a statute performs no function (or is even counterproductive) ordinarily does not render the statute unconstitutional or even constitutionally suspect.