Thursday, June 17, 2010
The Abortion Cases Part Seven
In Planned Parenthood Association v. Ashcroft a sharply divided Court struck down part of a Missouri statute while upholding other sections of the law. This is another opinion by Associate Justice Lewis F. Powell. Well, he wrote Parts I & II of the opinion, he was joined in the balance by Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger
The parts of the Missouri statute being scrutinized were §188.025 requiring abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy to be performed in a hospital; §188.047 mandating a pathology report for each abortion performed; §188.030.3 mandating the presence of a second physician in post viability abortions; and §188.028 requiring minors to have either parental consent or consent of the Juvenile Court prior to abortions being performed on them.
The provision requiring second trimester abortions to be performed only in hospitals was struck down, as it was in City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health. Thus §188.025 unreasonably infringes upon a woman's constitutional right to obtain an abortion."
The Court noted that "[p]reserving the life of a viable fetus that is aborted may not often be possible, but the State legitimately may choose to provide safeguards for the comparatively few instances of live birth that occur." The Court found that the second-physician requirement of §188.030.3 "reasonably furthers the State's compelling interest in protecting the lives of viable fetuses" and found the section to be Constitutionally permissible.
The Court found the requirement of a pathology report, §188.047, to have a relatively insignificant burden on the right of a woman to procure an abortion. This section was upheld.
Relying on the reasoning from the Bellotti case the Court found the Missouri parental consent form, §188.028, valid because a Missouri Court would have to find good cause, supported by required evidence that the minor was not mature enough to make her own decisions in order to deny a minor's request for judicial consent for an abortion.