Question List

Q. What regulations has the Court deemed constitutionally impermissible?

The Court has consistently held, since the time of Roe, that the state may require that only physicians perform abortions.1

But after Roe, in a series of challenges to state abortion regulations, the Court largely struck down even modest requirements. For example, in 1976 the Court struck down the following provisions of a Missouri law in Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth:2

  • a requirement that a woman seeking an abortion in the first trimester obtain her spouse's consent;3
  • a requirement that an unemancipated minor seeking an abortion in the first trimester obtain the consent of at least one parent;4
  • a ban on the saline method of abortion after the first trimester, even when the ban was enacted to protect the mother's health;5
  • a standard of care to protect the child who survives the abortion.6

In a similar way, in 1983 the Court struck down the following provisions of a city ordinance in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health:7

  • a requirement that abortions after the first trimester be performed in a hospital;8
  • a requirement that a minor under the age of 15 obtain the consent of at least one parent for an abortion when there is no clear judicial bypass allowing her to prove she is mature enough to make the decision or that an abortion is in her best interests;9
  • a requirement that the woman be told that the unborn child is a human life from the moment of conception;10
  • a requirement that a doctor, before performing an abortion, personally inform the woman of the risks of the procedure and provide her with other information to ensure that her consent is informed;11
  • a twenty-four hour waiting period;12
  • a requirement that fetal remains be disposed of humanely.13

And in 1986 the Court struck down the following provisions of a Pennsylvania law in Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists:14

  • a requirement that the pregnant woman be offered printed materials describing the unborn child's development and listing agencies to help the woman choose alternatives to abortion;15
  • a requirement that the woman be advised of the availability of medical assistance benefits, and of the father's responsibility for child support;16
  • a requirement that the woman be informed of detrimental physical and psychological effects and medical risks of the procedure;17
  • a provision requiring the abortion facility to report information about the method used for payment of the abortion and demographic information about the woman;18
  • a requirement that a doctor performing a post-viability abortion use an abortion method giving the unborn child the best chance of surviving the abortion;19
  • a requirement that a second physician be present during a post-viability abortion to care for the child who survives the abortion, when there is no medical emergency exception.20
EndRoe.org Copyright © 2017 NCHLA