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Stenberg v. Carhart (2000)

In Brief

Stenberg v. Carhart (2000): Court strikes down state law restricting partial-birth abortion

The Nebraska legislature passed a law banning the use of partial-birth abortion except where necessary to save the mother's life. The definition of the procedure included delivery of a "substantial portion" of an unborn child, feet first, before killing the child.

Leroy Carhart, a Nebraska abortion provider, filed suit claiming the law was unconstitutional because it would prohibit other abortion methods and because it did not provide an exception for non-life-threatening circumstances.

The Supreme Court agreed. The Court concluded that a health exception is constitutionally required and that the law as written would cover a broader category of procedures and therefore unduly burdened the right to abortion.

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