Send to

Choose Destination
Lancet. 1992 Jul 4;340(8810):44.

Undue burden of abortion.



In Planned Parenthood vs. Casey, the US Supreme Court upheld all but 1 provision of Pennsylvania law that further restricts access to abortion. The law has a 24-hour waiting period, parental consent for minors with a judicial bypass, husband notification, and the circumstances of each abortion are to be reported to the state for statistical purposes. The Court overturned the husband notification provision even though it had a bypass procedure. The most important aspect of the decision was the change from the strict scrutiny in which abortion was to be left alone unless the state could show a compelling need to regulate it to an undue burden test in which the state is allowed to regulate abortion so long as it does not place an undue burden on women trying to seek abortion services. The 24-hour waiting period was upheld; however, it was also acknowledged that since 83% of women live in counties without abortion services, this may turn out to be an undue burden and it is open to review at later date when statistical evidence is available. The Opinion was written by Justices O'Connor, Kennedy, and Souter. Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Scalia, White, and Thomas dissented saying that the undue burden standard was unprecedented in constitutional law and undefinable in practice. It is likely now that the Court will begin writing abortion policy as it clarifies each specific point of the law rather than ruling on fundamental legal principles.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center