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City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health (1983)

In Brief

City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health (1983): Court invalidates second-trimester hospital requirement, parental consent without judicial bypass, informed consent, waiting period, and "humane" disposal of fetal remains

The City Council of Akron, Ohio, enacted abortion regulations requiring that: second-trimester abortions be done in hospitals, consent of a parent (or a court order) be obtained for abortions on minors under 15, women be given information about the status of pregnancy, development of fetus, date of possible viability, possible physical and emotional complications, agencies which could help with adoption and childbirth and be told that "the unborn child is a human life from the moment of conception," the abortion be delayed for 24 hours, and "fetal remains" be disposed of in "humane and sanitary" manner.

Three abortion clinics and an abortion doctor filed suit claiming the requirements were unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court agreed that each provision was unconstitutional: Requiring women to travel to a hospital added financial expense and health risks and was an unnecessary burden on their right to abortion. The failure to create a specific court procedure for determining the maturity of each pregnant minor was unconstitutional. Abortion doctors should be free to decide what information is appropriate for the woman rather than having to convey a list of specific information, and the "moment of conception" statement violated Roe v. Wade's prohibition against adopting one theory of when life begins. The 24-hour waiting period did not make the abortion safer or the woman's decision more well-informed. The requirement for "humane and sanitary" disposal of fetal remains was unclear and failed to give abortion doctors fair notice of what was required of them.

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