The Case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania V. Robert P. Casey

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Alphonso Campbell
American Government TH 9:30
Mr. Scott Covey
March 11, 2010 
The Case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Robert P. Casey 



Planned Parenthood v. Casey

I. Introduction and Thesis Statement
A. Statement of Case- Planned Parenthood v. Casey is a Supreme Court case in which the constitutionality of several Pennsylvania state regulations regarding abortion were challenged. B. Thesis Statement- the Supreme Court’s plurality opinion upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion but lowered the standard for analyzing restrictions of that right, invalidating one regulation but upholding the others. II. Background facts

A. Who- Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania B. What- Petitioned that five provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982. C. When- Argued April 22, 1992 and decided June 29, 1992. D. Where- Southeastern Pennsylvania

E. Why- The petitioners believed the provisions were unconstitutional. F. How- The petitioners, five abortion clinics and a physician and a class of doctors brought this suit seeking a declaratory judgment. III. Arguments

A. Planned Parenthood
B. Robert P. Casey
IV. Opinion
A. Majority Opinion
B. Dissenting Opinion
C. Personal Opinion
V. Significance of the Case: To protect women’s right to have an abortion at their own risk, and their choice.

In Planned Parenthood v Casey, a slim majority of the Supreme Court, to the surprise of many, dramatically rejected the vigorous and caustic calls of four dissenting Justices to overrule ROE V. WADE (1973), decided nineteen years earlier. The majority instead reaffirmed Roe’s "core" as it struck down a spousal notice provision in a Pennsylvania ABORTION statute. A different majority, however, OVERRULED portions of two of Roe 's successor decisions, by upholding the statute's informed consent provisions for adult women, including a twenty-four–hour waiting period and a prescribed set of oral and written disclosures by the physician of "objective, non-judgmental … accurate scientific information" about fetal development, social services, and adoption. This latter majority also upheld a parental consent provision (with a judicial bypass) for minors seeking abortion and a clinic data collection and reporting requirement.

Among the notable features of this case was the gravitas of the PLURALITY OPINION by the three Justices in the conservative middle of the Court. Justices ANTHONY M. KENNEDY, SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR, and DAVID H. SOUTER jointly authored and signed the opinion, an exceptional step reminiscent of the COOPER V. AARON (1958) opinion signed by each of the nine WARREN COURT Justices to emphasize their commitment to BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION (1955). Drawing back from their expressions of hostility to Roe in prior opinions, Kennedy and O'Connor joined with Souter to reaffirm Roe 's "core" holdings that a woman has a FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT to terminate her pregnancy prior to fetal viability; after viability a state can ban abortion except where the woman's life or health are endangered; and from the start of a pregnancy the state has a legitimate interest in protecting the health of the woman and a growing interest in protecting the life of the fetus.

In contrast to Justices JOHN PAUL STEVENS and HARRY A. BLACKMUN, who in separate opinions adhered more fully to the Court's opinion in Roe, the joint plurality opinion rejected Roe’s "trimester structure" for evaluating state regulation of abortion in favor of an "undue burden" standard. By this, the plurality meant that a state cannot constitutionally impose a rule that leaves a woman with merely a formal right or that "has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle" to the effective exercise of the abortion right....
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