Women's Rights and Reproductive Freedom Cases
Griswold v. Connecticut 381 U.S. 479 (1965) (W|L)
- Defendants were convicted of violating the Connecticut birth control
law. The Circuit Court in the Sixth Circuit, Connecticut, rendered
judgments, and the defendants appealed. The Appellate Division of the
Circuit Court affirmed, and defendants appealed. The Connecticut Supreme
Court of Errors, 151 Conn. 544, 200 A.2d 479, affirmed, and the
defendants appealed. The Supreme Court, Mr. Justice Douglas, held that
the Connecticut law forbidding use of contraceptives unconstitutionally
intrudes upon the right of marital privacy.
Roe v. Wade 410 U.S. 113 (1973) (W|L)
- Action was brought for a declaratory and injunctive relief respecting
Texas criminal abortion laws which were claimed to be unconstitutional.
A three-judge United States District Court for the Northern District of
Texas, 314 F.Supp. 1217, entered judgment declaring laws
unconstitutional and an appeal was taken. The Supreme Court, Mr. Justice
Blackmun, held that the Texas criminal abortion statutes prohibiting
abortions at any stage of pregnancy except to save the life of the
mother are unconstitutional; that prior to approximately the end of the
first trimester the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left
to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician,
subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester the state may
regulate abortion procedure in ways reasonably related to maternal
health, and at the stage subsequent to viability the state may regulate
and even proscribe abortion except where necessary in appropriate
medical judgment for preservation of life or health of mother.
Planned Parenthood of Se. Pa. v. Casey 505 U.S. 833 (1992) (W|L)
- Abortion clinics and physician challenged, on due process grounds,
the constitutionality of the 1988 and 1989 amendments to the
Pennsylvania abortion statute. The United States District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Daniel H. Huyett, 3d, J., 744 F.Supp.
1323, held that several sections of the statute were unconstitutional.
Pennsylvania appealed. The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, 947
F.2d 682, affirmed in part and reversed in part. Certiorari was granted.
The Supreme Court, Justices O'Connor, Kennedy and Souter held that: (1)
the doctrine of stare decisis requires reaffirmance of Roe v. Wade's
essential holding recognizing a woman's right to choose an abortion
before fetal viability; (2) the undue burden test, rather than the
trimester framework, should be used in evaluating abortion restrictions
before viability; (3) the medical emergency definition in the
Pennsylvania statute was sufficiently broad that it did not impose an
undue burden; (4) the informed consent requirements, the 24-hour waiting
period, parental consent provision, and the reporting and recordkeeping
requirements of the Pennsylvania statute did not impose an undue
burden; and (5) the spousal notification provision imposed an undue
burden and was invalid.
Heafey Law Library Research Team