Learn the Facts

Are states permitted to place restrictions on abortion?

Since the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings in 1973 (see above), most states have sought to impose restrictions on abortion. As these laws have been enacted, Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other abortion advocacy organizations have sought court injunctions to prevent them from going into effect. Many of these legal battles have found their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (1976), the Court upheld the right of a state to require the consent of one parent when a minor sought an abortion. A judicial bypass provision was required in cases where a minor felt she would be in danger if she sought consent from a parent.

In Webster v. Reproductive Health Services (1989), the Court upheld a state’s prerogative to prohibit the use of taxpayer funds and public facilities for abortions.

In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992) the Court discarded the trimester formula adopted in Roe, and ruled that states could enact laws to protect the unborn child after viability. Casey also upheld the state’s 24-hour waiting period before an abortion, as well as the state’s parental consent and informed consent laws.

In Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) the Supreme Court upheld the federal ban on a particular type of late term abortion known as partial birth abortion.

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