Last Updated 26 Mar 2021


Category Justice
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The case of  is one of the more controversial cases in recent jurisprudential history owing to the fact that it tackled the equally controversial topic of abortion.  The basics of the case revolve around the Constitutionality of a number of regulations set by the State of Pennsylvania with regard to abortion.  This brief discourse will attempt to highlight the key points of the case as well as delve into the legal implications of such a ruling on Contemporary American Society.

The main facts of the case revolved on the constitutionality of these provisions under the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act.  It involved the “informed consent” rule which required the physicians to inform their patients about all the risks involved in an abortion.

The second provision dealt with the “spousal notification” rule which required prior notice from the husbands of the patients.

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The third provision was the “parental consent” rule which needed consent from the parents of the minors involved in the operation.

The fourth was the mandatory 24-Hour waiting period before the operation.

Finally, the fifth provision tackled the issue on the reports with regard to the clinics that give abortion services (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

QA about Planned Parenthood V Casey

What is a parental consent form?

When a minor under the age of 16 applies for a passport and one of the minor's parents or legal guardians is unavailable at the time the passport is executed, a completed and notarized DS-3053 can be used as the statement of consent.

What is the age of parental consent?

The age of consent is sixteen. With parental consent, males and females under the age of 16 can marry and younger parties may receive a license by reason of pregnancy or the birth of a child. Common law marriage is not recognized. The age of consent is sixteen.

The plaintiffs involved in the case are four (4) abortion clinics and several physicians who provide abortions.  Filed with the District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the plaintiffs moved to have the five state provisions in relation to abortion declared unconstitutional on its face.  Soon after, the District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs of the case and issued and injunction against the State of Pennsylvania.  As is well known, the decision in this case did not overturn the prior rulings in Roe V Wade but instead upheld its validity (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

While the decision did not result in a definitive ruling on the issue, it, however, led to an opinion that bears precedential in relation to the issue.  This can be clearly be seen by the ruling of Justices when Justice Souter voted to uphold Roe V Wade while the other five Justices[1]voted to uphold the restrictions.

This case is widely discussed because it is the first direct challenge to the ruling lain down in Roe V Wade (Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).  Though many have claimed that this was because the new justices that were appointed to the Supreme Court were recognized conservatives, many legal publicists have stated that it was the opportune moment to challenge the long standing decision in Roe V Wade.  In line with this decision, the Supreme Court in delivering its plurality opinion mentioned the previous challenges to the ruling in Roe V Wade.  The Supreme Court argued that the right to abortion is closely based on the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law

The right of a person to decide whether to bear or not to bear a child is intrinsically connected to the right of privacy that such cannot be violated without a close application of the Due Process requirements.  It was this decision that basically upheld the main tenets of the Roe case (Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).

"Because neither the factual underpinnings of Roe's central holding nor our understanding of it has changed (and because no other indication of weakened precedent has been shown), the Court could not pretend to be reexamining the prior law with any justification beyond a present doctrinal disposition to come out differently from the Court of 1973 . (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833)”

Another issue that was tackled was that of “spousal notification” which the Supreme Court felt could lead to increased instances of substance abuse that would be prejudicial to many women.  In arriving at this decision, the Supreme Court cited the doctrine of “undue burden” (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).  In concluding the plurality opinion, the Supreme Court reiterated the long standing principle of Stare Decisis (Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).  It explained that no matter how unpopular a decision might be, it still has to abide by the legal precedents that have been previously lain down.

As the first direct challenge to the ruling lain down in Roe V Wade, the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania V Casey does not really settle the issue.  As can be seen in the decision of the Supreme Court, there is still a certain level of disagreement with regard to the extension of the right to privacy and the right to have an abortion.  It is ideal to uphold the principles of the constitution yet it should never amount to a construction that would defeat the purpose of these laws.  The case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania V Casey instead presents a challenge for the American Legal System to settle.  One’s right to life V one’s right to be born.

Factors in favor of mandatory parental involvement:

Religious support: Essentially all Fundamentalist and other Evangelical religious denominations are believed to support parental involvement laws.

Parental rights: Parents have the right to know about any significant activity of their under-age teens. Senatorial candidate John Pinkerton (D-CA) comments: "Parents must give consent before their child can have their ears pierced or a tattoo put on. In fact, in public schools and emergency rooms, parents must give consent before their child can be treated with so much as an aspirin. Most voters agree that it is outrageous to allow a child to undergo any surgical procedure, let alone an invasive, irreversible procedure such as an abortion, without parental notification."

Welfare of the Child: Deciding whether to have an abortion or continue the pregnancy will probably have a major long-term impact on the teen's psychological and emotional well-being, her ability to continue formal education, her future financial status, etc. Notification and consent laws help pregnant teens get support and guidance from their parents in this important decision. California state attorneys stated in a brief: "To deny parents the opportunity...risks or perpetuates estrangement or alienation from the child when she is in the greatest need of parental guidance and support and denies all dignity to the family."

Safety: A woman who has an abortion in secret, and experiences complications may be disinclined to reveal the problem to her parents. Complications, while rare, could conceivably develop to threaten the woman's life.

Criminal activity: There have been situations in which a child molester has secretly taken an under-aged girl to have an abortion, in order to cover up his crime. Parental notification could help expose the sexual abuse.

Works Cited:

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973)

Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992)

[1] Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Byron White, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas

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