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Planned Parenthood of Kansas City, MO v. Ashcroft (1983)

In Brief

Planned Parenthood Association of Kansas City, Mo. v. Ashcroft (1983): Court invalidates second-trimester hospital requirement but upholds pathology report, second doctor at post-viability abortions, and parental consent or judicial waiver

The Missouri legislature passed several abortion regulations requiring that second-trimester abortions be done in hospitals, a pathology report be made for each abortion, a second doctor be present for post-viability abortions, and parental or court consent be obtained for minors' abortions.

Planned Parenthood of Kansas City, Missouri and two abortion doctors filed suit claiming the requirements were unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court ruled that the hospital requirement was unconstitutional because the added financial expense and health risks created an unnecessary burden on the right to abortion. The other provisions were upheld: The small additional cost to submit tissue to a pathologist was justified for the resulting health benefits to women. A second doctor for post-viability abortions could provide immediate medical attention to a fetus that was delivered alive. The judicial waiver allowed for a demonstration of maturity by the minor or for a finding that the abortion would be in the minor's best interests.

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