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Planned Parenthood v. Casey

From lawbrain.com

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), was a case heard before the United States Supreme Court dealing with a Pennsylvania law that placed restrictions on abortion.

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Summary of Case Facts

Pennsylvania’s abortion control law had several provisions that imposed requirements that must be met before a woman could seek an abortion. This law was challenged as being unconstitutional due to five provisions in particular, as follows:

  • An “informed consent” rule required doctors to inform women seeking abortions of the complications and health risks that could possibly result from having an abortion.
  • Another provision required women seeking abortions to give prior notice to their husbands before an abortion could take place.
  • One provision required minors to receive consent from a parent or guardian before an abortion could be performed.
  • Another provision imposed a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion could be performed.
  • The final provision at issue imposed certain reporting requirements on facilities that offered abortion services.


Is it constitutional for a state to require that the above provisions be put in place without violating a woman’s right to abortion as provided by Roe v. Wade?

Holding and Law

Yes and no. Ultimately, the justices, in a divided court resulting in a plurality opinion, upheld all provisions of the Pennsylvania law, except spousal notification, while simultaneously upholding Roe v. Wade.

The court rejected the argument that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Instead, they stated that the trimester framework from Roe should be updated to a new standard, known as the undue burden test. Under the new test, if a state law or regulation creates an undue burden for a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus becomes viable then it is unconstitutional. The court defined “undue burden” to mean a "substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability." As applied to the provisions of the Pennsylvania law, none of the provisions except spousal notification were found to create an undue burden.

Related Cases and Resources on LawBrain

Roe v. Wade


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