Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

Last updated
Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 5, 1985
Decided June 11, 1986
Full case nameThornburgh, Governor of Pennsylvania, et al. v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, et al.
Citations476 U.S. 747 ( more )
106 S. Ct. 2169; 90 L. Ed. 2d 779; 54 U.S.L.W. 4618; 1986 U.S. LEXIS 54
Case history
Prior737 F.2d 283 (3d Cir. 1984 (affirmed)
Holding
Provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 that "wholly subordinate constitutional privacy interests and concerns with maternal health to the effort to deter a woman from making a decision that, with her physician, is hers to make" were unconstitutional.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Warren E. Burger
Associate Justices
William J. Brennan Jr.  · Byron White
Thurgood Marshall  · Harry Blackmun
Lewis F. Powell Jr.  · William Rehnquist
John P. Stevens  · Sandra Day O'Connor
Case opinions
MajorityBlackmun, joined by Brennan, Marshall, Powell, Stevens
ConcurrenceStevens
DissentBurger
DissentWhite, joined by Rehnquist
DissentO'Connor, joined by Rehnquist
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV
Superseded by
Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization (2022)
Overruled by
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986), was a United States Supreme Court case involving a challenge to Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act of 1982. [1] [2]

Contents

Decision

In 1982, Pennsylvania passed the Abortion Control Act, which imposed a 24 hour waiting period and required that prospective patients be provided with information (such as the probable stage of the patient's pregnancy, the availability of child welfare benefits, and the possibility of receiving child support from the patient's sexual partner) as part of the "informed consent" process prior to all abortion procedures. [3] [4] The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists filed suit in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania seeking an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced on constitutional grounds. The district court denied the plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief and the plaintiffs appealed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The Third Circuit then reversed and enjoined enforcement of the Act. Pennsylvania then appealed to the Supreme Court which granted review.

In a 5–4 decision, the Supreme Court affirmed the Third Circuit's decision to enjoin enforcement of the Act. Justice Harry Blackmun, writing for the majority, held that the Act's requirement of providing information to the patient as part of the "informed consent" process "seem[s] to us to be nothing less than an outright attempt to wedge the Commonwealth's message discouraging abortion into the privacy of the informed-consent dialogue between the woman and her physician." [4]

Justice Sandra Day O'Connor distanced herself from the court in dissent, "disput[ing] not only the wisdom but also the legitimacy of the Court's attempt to discredit and pre-empt state abortion regulation regardless of the interests it serves and the impact it has." [1] The 7–2 majority of Roe had now shrunk to 5–4.

See also

Related Research Articles

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), was a landmark case of the Supreme Court of the United States in which the Court upheld the right to have an abortion as established by the "essential holding" of Roe v. Wade (1973) and issued as its "key judgment" the imposition of the undue burden standard when evaluating state-imposed restrictions on that right. Both the essential holding of Roe and the key judgment of Casey were overturned by the Supreme Court in 2022.

Child Online Protection Act

The Child Online Protection Act (COPA) was a law in the United States of America, passed in 1998 with the declared purpose of restricting access by minors to any material defined as harmful to such minors on the Internet. The law, however, never took effect, as three separate rounds of litigation led to a permanent injunction against the law in 2009.

Harry Blackmun US Supreme Court justice from 1970 to 1994

Harry Andrew Blackmun was an American lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1970 to 1994. Appointed by Republican President Richard Nixon, Blackmun ultimately became one of the most liberal justices on the Court. He is best known as the author of the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade, which prohibited many state and federal restrictions on abortion.

Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973), was a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States overturning the abortion law of Georgia. The Supreme Court's decision was released on January 22, 1973, the same day as the decision in the better-known case of Roe v. Wade.

Rust v. Sullivan, 500 U.S. 173 (1991), was a case in the United States Supreme Court that upheld Department of Health and Human Services regulations prohibiting employees in federally funded family-planning facilities from counseling a patient on abortion. The department had removed all family planning programs that involving abortions. Physicians and clinics challenged this decision within the Supreme Court, arguing that the First Amendment was violated due to the implementation of this new policy. The Supreme Court, by a 5–4 verdict, allowed the regulation to go into effect, holding that the regulation was a reasonable interpretation of the Public Health Service Act, and that the First Amendment is not violated when the government merely chooses to "fund one activity to the exclusion of another."

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 U.S. 320 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving a facial challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification abortion law. The First Circuit had ruled that the law was unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement was proper. The Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case, but avoided a substantive ruling on the challenged law or a reconsideration of prior Supreme Court abortion precedent. Instead, the Court only addressed the issue of remedy, holding that invalidating a statute in its entirety "is not always necessary or justified, for lower courts may be able to render narrower declaratory and injunctive relief."

Bowen v. Roy, 476 U.S. 693 (1986), was a United States Supreme Court case which established limits on freedom of religion in the United States.

Scheidler v. National Organization for Women, 547 U.S. 9 (2006), was a lengthy and high-profile U.S. legal case interpreting and applying the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO): a law originally drafted to combat the mafia and organized crime, the Hobbs Act: an anti-extortion law prohibiting interference with commerce by violence or threat of violence, and the Travel Act: a law prohibiting interstate travel in support of racketeering.

Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court that upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003. The case reached the high court after U.S. Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, appealed a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in favor of LeRoy Carhart that struck down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. Also before the Supreme Court was the consolidated appeal of Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which had struck down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Bob Jones University v. Simon, 416 U.S. 725 (1974), is a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States holding that Bob Jones University, which had its 501(c)(3) status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service for practicing "racially discriminatory admissions policies" towards African-Americans, could not sue for an injunction to prevent losing its tax-exempt status. The question of Bob Jones University's tax-exempt status was ultimately resolved in Bob Jones University v. United States, in which the court ruled that the First Amendment did not protect discriminatory organizations from losing tax-exempt status.

Harris v. McRae, 448 U.S. 297 (1980), was a case in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that states participating in Medicaid are not required to fund medically necessary abortions for which federal reimbursement was unavailable as a result of the Hyde Amendment, which restricted the use of federal funds for abortion. The Court also held that the funding restrictions of the Hyde Amendment did not violate the Fifth Amendment or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

Abortion law in the United States by state Termination of pregnancy in states of the United States

{{longitem |style=font-size:105%;padding-bottom:0.3em;border-bottom:1px solid #aaa |Color-coded map illustrating the legality of elective abortion in the United States as of July 1, 2022 (UTC)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists US professional association

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) is a professional association of physicians specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in the United States. Several Latin American countries are also represented within Districts of the organization. It is a 501(c)(3) organization with a membership of more than 60,000 obstetrician-gynecologists and women's health care professionals. It was founded in 1951.

Whole Woman's Health v. Hellerstedt, 579 U.S. 582 (2016), was a landmark decision of the US Supreme Court decided on June 27, 2016. The Court ruled 5–3 that Texas cannot place restrictions on the delivery of abortion services that create an undue burden for women seeking an abortion. On June 28, 2016, the Supreme Court refused to hear challenges from Wisconsin and Mississippi where federal appeals courts had struck down similar laws. Other states with similar laws may also be impacted.

Abortion in Pennsylvania is legal up to the 24th week of pregnancy. 51% of Pennsylvania adults said in a 2014 poll by the Pew Research Center that abortion should be legal and 44% said it should be illegal in all or most cases.

Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, Inc., No. 18-483, 587 U.S. ___, 139 S.Ct. 1780 (2019), was a United States Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of a 2016 anti-abortion law passed in the state of Indiana. Indiana's law sought to ban abortions performed solely on the basis of the fetus' gender, race, ethnicity, or disabilities. Lower courts had blocked enforcement of the law for violating a woman's right to abortion under privacy concerns within the Fourteenth Amendment, as previously found in the landmark cases Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey. The lower courts also blocked enforcement of another portion of the law that required the disposal of aborted fetuses through burial or cremation. The per curiam decision by the Supreme Court overturned the injunction on the fetal disposal portion of the law, but otherwise did not challenge or confirm the lower courts' ruling on the non-discrimination clauses, leaving these in place.

<i>Planned Parenthood v. Rounds</i>

Planned Parenthood v. Rounds, 686 F.3d 889, is an Eighth Circuit decision addressing the constitutionality of a South Dakota law which forced doctors to make certain disclosures to patients seeking abortions. The challenged statute required physicians to convey to their abortion-seeking patients a number of state-mandated disclosures, including a statement that abortions caused an "[i]ncreased risk of suicide ideation and suicide." Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, along with its medical director Dr. Carol E. Ball, challenged the South Dakota law, arguing that it violated patients' and physicians' First Amendment free speech rights and Fourteenth Amendment due process rights. After several appeals and remands, the Eighth Circuit, sitting en banc, upheld the South Dakota law, holding that the mandated suicide advisement was not "unconstitutionally misleading or irrelevant," and did "not impose an unconstitutional burden on women seeking abortions or their physicians." This supplemented the Eighth Circuit's earlier rulings in this case, where the court determined that the state was allowed to impose a restrictive emergency exception on abortion procedures and to force physicians to convey disclosures regarding the woman's relationship to the fetus and the humanity of the fetus.

Texas Heartbeat Act 2021 Act of the Texas Legislature on abortion

The Texas Heartbeat Act, Senate Bill 8, is an act of the Texas Legislature that bans abortion after the detection of embryonic or fetal cardiac activity, which normally occurs after about six weeks of pregnancy. The law took effect on September 1, 2021, after the U.S. Supreme Court denied a request for emergency relief from Texas abortion providers. It is the first time a state has successfully imposed a six-week abortion ban since Roe v. Wade, and the first abortion restriction to rely solely on enforcement by private individuals through civil lawsuits, rather than having state officials enforce the law with criminal or civil penalties. The act authorizes members of the public to sue anyone who performs or facilitates an illegal abortion for a minimum of $10,000 in statutory damages per abortion, plus court costs and attorneys' fees.

Whole Woman's Health v. Jackson, 595 U.S. ___ (2021), was a United States Supreme Court case brought by Texas abortion providers and abortion rights advocates that challenged the constitutionality of the Texas Heartbeat Act, a law that outlaws abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detectable, which typically occurs around the sixth week of a pregnancy. The Texas Heartbeat Act prohibits state officials from enforcing the ban but authorizes private individuals to enforce the law by suing anyone who performs, aids, or abets a post-heartbeat abortion. The law was structured this way to evade pre-enforcement judicial review because lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of state statutes are typically brought against state officials who are charged with enforcing the law, as the state itself cannot be sued under the doctrine of sovereign immunity.

United States v. Texas was a United States Supreme Court case that involved the Texas Heartbeat Act, also known as Senate Bill 8 or SB8, a state law that bans abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected, typically six weeks into pregnancy. A unique feature of the Act, and challenges to it, is the delegation of enforcement to any and all private individuals who are authorized by the Act to file civil actions against abortion providers who violate it, and aiders and abetters, while state and local officials are prohibited from doing so. The Act is stated by its opponents to go against the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which bans states from regulating abortions during the first trimester of pregnancy in favor of the woman's right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.

References

  1. 1 2 Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986).
  2. Greenhouse, Linda. Becoming Justice Blackmun. Times Books. 2005. Page 183.
  3. "The Supreme Court . Printable Page | PBS".
  4. 1 2 "Thornburgh v. Amer. Coll. Of Obstetricians, 476 U.S. 747 (1986)".