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The controversy surrounding whether late term abortion should be banned or not

A series of graphics that illustrate how opinion differs among various demographic groups. Abortion and the Supreme Court The constitutional dimensions of the abortion debate. In 1967, Colorado became the first state to greatly broaden the circumstances under which a woman could legally receive an abortion. By 1970, 11 additional states had made similar changes to their abortion laws and four other states — New York, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska — had completely decriminalized abortion during the early stages of pregnancy.

Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates launched a series of court challenges to many older state abortion laws, often arguing that these statutes were overly vague or that they violated the right to privacy or the right to equal protection under the law guaranteed under the U.

State and lower federal courts usually rejected these arguments. Wade In the early 1970s, the Supreme Court agreed to hear two cases challenging laws that restricted abortion. Wade 1973the high court considered a challenge to a Texas law outlawing abortion in all cases except those in which the life of the controversy surrounding whether late term abortion should be banned or not mother was at risk. In both cases, lower federal courts had declared the statutes unconstitutional, ruling that denying a woman the right to decide whether to carry a pregnancy to term violated basic privacy and liberty interests contained in the Constitution.

In Griswold, the court had struck down a Connecticut anti-contraception law on the ground that it intruded on the right to marital privacy. The court then asked: To answer this question, Blackmun created a three-tiered legal framework, based on the nine-month period of pregnancy, which gave the state greater interest and regulatory latitude in each successive tier.

First trimester of pregnancy Legal Standard: State can only require basic health safeguards and cannot limit access to abortion Tier 2 Time Period Covered: End of first trimester to point of fetal viability Legal Standard: State can regulate abortion only to protect health of mother Tier 3 Time Period Covered: Period after point of fetal viability Legal Standard: During this period, the state can only impose basic health safeguards — such as requiring that the procedure be performed by a qualified health professional — and can in no way limit access to abortion.

At this point, Blackmun determined, the state has an interest in protecting maternal health and can regulate abortion only to protect the health of the mother. In other words, regulations have to be directed toward ensuring maternal health and cannot be aimed at protecting a fetus or limiting access to abortion services.

Thus, a state law requiring a doctor to describe to a woman seeking an abortion the risks associated with the procedure before receiving her informed consent would be constitutional — as long as the requirement aimed to protect maternal health and was not created to dissuade a woman from terminating her pregnancy. In Doe, the same seven-justice majority largely restated and fleshed out its ruling in Roe.

The Post-Roe Court Roe proved to be one of the most significant decisions ever handed down by the Supreme Court and is perhaps rivaled in public attention in the 20th century only by the landmark 1954 school desegregation case, Brown v.

  1. Women must be given the opportunity to participate in counselling before a termination can be performed. About 80 percent of late-term abortions are done by D and E.
  2. In addition, the statute required a minor to obtain the consent of at least one parent or guardian, and for a wife to inform her husband of her plans to terminate her pregnancy. The pieces are pulled out and counted to confirm that nothing was missed.
  3. But that does not make them wrong. Wade has led us to focus on whether the fetus is viable--whether it can survive outside the womb.

Unlike Brown, however, Roe has remained controversial in the decades since it was decided. In the years immediately following Roe, the Supreme Court grappled with a host of issues that arose from the decision. These included questions about laws requiring informed consent, parental consent, spousal consent and waiting periods for women seeking abortions.

In these cases, the court also affirmed Roe and its three-tiered framework. The first small crack in Roe jurisprudence came in 1989 when the high court decided Webster v. This case concerned a Missouri statute that barred public facilities from being used to conduct abortions and prohibited public health workers from performing abortions unless the life of the mother was at risk.

The statute also defined life as beginning at conception and directed physicians to perform fetal viability tests on women who were 20 or more weeks pregnant and seeking abortions. In a highly fractured 5-4 decision, the court upheld the constitutionality of the statute.

The majority also held that prohibiting the use of government workers or facilities to perform abortions is acceptable because the right to an abortion established in Roe does not include the right to government assistance in obtaining one.

The majority also ruled that the requirement of viability testing at 20 weeks is constitutional, although the justices offered different reasons for this ruling.

The Webster decision revealed a new majority on the court with a greater willingness to uphold state restrictions on abortion. Casey involved a challenge to a wide-ranging abortion law that included an informed-consent requirement as well as a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortions.

Is abortion legal in Australia? It's complicated

In addition, the statute required a minor to obtain the consent of at least one parent or guardian, and for a wife to inform her husband of her plans to terminate her pregnancy. In the cases of both the minor and spousal requirements, various waivers were available for extenuating circumstances. In affirming Roe, the high court argued in favor of maintaining the constitutional status quo for reasons that went beyond legal precedent.

At the same time, the court significantly modified the three-tiered framework that Roe had created. First, under Casey states could now regulate abortion during the entire period before fetal viability, and they could do so for reasons other than to protect the health of the mother.

In addition, the court in Casey also established a less rigorous standard for determining whether state abortion laws are constitutional. As a result, in the years immediately following Roe, many abortion regulations were declared unconstitutional.

Casey appeared to accommodate both sides in the abortion debate. By partially dismantling the three-tiered framework and creating the less rigorous undue burden standard for determining the constitutionality of abortion regulations, the high court gave states greater latitude to regulate abortion before the point of fetal viability.

Indeed, in Casey the court applied the less rigorous undue burden standard to the Pennsylvania laws and, with the exception of the spousal-consent requirement, found all to be constitutional. But abortion opponents had viewed Casey as an opportunity to overturn Roe, and many believed the court, bolstered by new Republican-appointed members Clarence Thomas and David Souter, would do so.

Carharta case challenging the constitutionality of a Nebraska law prohibiting partial-birth abortion. This procedure is usually performed late in the second trimester, between 20 and 24 weeks into a pregnancy.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court ruled that the Nebraska law violated the Constitution as interpreted in Casey and Roe. Even though the decision effectively rendered similar bans in more than 30 states unenforceable, the vote was unexpectedly close for a court in which support for the right to abortion was expected to garner the support of six justices.

In 2003, Congress passed and President George W. Abortion rights advocates immediately challenged the law, and lower courts, citing Stenberg, struck it down. But in 2007, in the controversy surrounding whether late term abortion should be banned or not case Gonzales v. Carhartthe Supreme Court reversed course and upheld the federal ban by a vote of 5-4, giving abortion opponents a major victory and prompting many states to consider passing tougher restrictions on abortion.

This was a significant departure from earlier abortion rulings, including the Stenberg decision, which require that laws restricting abortion include such a health provision. The only difference was that now he was writing for the majority.

  • In Doe, the same seven-justice majority largely restated and fleshed out its ruling in Roe;
  • In the cases of both the minor and spousal requirements, various waivers were available for extenuating circumstances;
  • In fact, none of the obstetricians I talked to had even heard of the technique until it became a hot political topic;
  • Victoria Abortion is legal in Victoria in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy;
  • To answer this question, Blackmun created a three-tiered legal framework, based on the nine-month period of pregnancy, which gave the state greater interest and regulatory latitude in each successive tier.

Kennedy devoted a substantial part of his majority opinion to differentiating the federal partial-birth abortion ban from the Nebraska ban that had been struck down by the high court in Stenberg. New Regulations after Carhart Emboldened by the decision in Carhart, a number of states stepped up efforts to regulate abortion.

A History of Key Abortion Rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court

For example, 10 states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas and Virginia — have enacted laws in recent years that require physicians to perform an ultrasound procedure prior to an abortion.

In addition, a number of states have recently passed laws that, with very narrow exceptions, outlaw abortion beginning at 20 weeks into a pregnancy. The new ultrasound laws create a more demanding consent requirement by compelling women seeking abortions to first undergo a trans-vaginal ultrasound procedure. Some of the new laws also mandate that the woman see an image of the fetus and listen to the sound of the fetal heartbeat prior to receiving an abortion. Other ultrasound laws require only that the health-care provider offer the woman the opportunity to view the image or listen to the heartbeat.

Several of the ultrasound laws have been challenged in federal court. Lakey, a federal district court ruled in August 2011 that the Texas ultrasound law which requires the abortion provider to perform the ultrasound, display and describe the ultrasound images to the patient, and make the fetal heart sounds audible to the patient violated the First Amendment rights of physicians and patients by requiring a conversation that neither party may desire.

In January 2012, however, the 5th U. In another case challenging this type of law, Stuart v.

The Contraception Mandate and Religious Liberty

The litigation in this case is continuing, and an eventual appeal to the 4th U. Circuit Court of Appeals is likely. These laws are based in part on a theory that a fetus, from 20 weeks onward, can experience pain from an abortion procedure. Those who support the theory assert that a fetus of 20 weeks has developed pain sensors and will react to stimuli, such as a needle, with increases in blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.

They maintain that a fetus does not develop the neurological structures necessary to experience pain until at least 26 weeks of development.

  • Several of the ultrasound laws have been challenged in federal court;
  • But that does not make them wrong;
  • This was a significant departure from earlier abortion rulings, including the Stenberg decision, which require that laws restricting abortion include such a health provision.

A group of abortion providers in Arizona challenged the law in federal court. However, in July 2012, a federal district court refused to block enforcement of the law. The district court judge in the case, Isaacson v. The plaintiffs in the Arizona case quickly obtained a temporary order against enforcement of the law from the 9th U.

Circuit Court of Appeals. Eventually, the controversies over compulsory ultrasound procedures and prohibitions on abortion at 20 weeks of gestation could produce petitions to the U. Supreme Court to resolve the constitutional issues raised by these laws. For example, if the 4th U.

At that point, the Supreme Court could grant review in the North Carolina case to settle the conflict between the circuit court decisions. For this reason, circuit courts seem likely to strike down such laws.

  1. Carhart , a case challenging the constitutionality of a Nebraska law prohibiting partial-birth abortion. The first small crack in Roe jurisprudence came in 1989 when the high court decided Webster v.
  2. A legal precedent set in 1971 means social and economic factors may also be taken into consideration. If not, the heart sometimes beats even after the fetus has been delivered.
  3. A woman must receive approval from two doctors from a statutory panel of six appointed by the Health Minister who agree the woman, or her foetus, has a "severe medical condition" that justifies the procedure.
  4. The doctor breaks her bag of water and drains out the fluid.