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Simopoulos v. Virginia (1983)

In Brief

Simopoulos v. Virginia (1983): Court upholds law requiring that second-trimester abortions be done in licensed facilities

The Virginia legislature passed a law requiring that second-trimester abortions be done in hospitals. Virginia law defined hospital to include licensed outpatient surgical clinics.

Dr. Simopoulos was convicted of performing a saline-injection abortion at his unlicensed clinic on a minor who was five months pregnant and who later delivered the dead baby in a motel. He went to court claiming the Virginia law was unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court disagreed. The statute did not require second-trimester abortions to be done in full-service hospitals, which was ruled unconstitutional in City of Akron and Planned Parenthood Assn. of Kansas City, Mo., Inc. v. Ashcroft, but in licensed clinics. The Court said this was a reasonable way to promote women's health and was not an undue burden on the right to abortion.

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