Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

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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
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

Background

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sought an injunction to all enforcement of the Pennsylvania law. Although the law in question was similar to the one in City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health , the Reagan administration in Thornburgh asked the justices to overrule Roe v. Wade , which Chief Justice Burger had now decided to abandon. [2]

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists non-profit organisation in the USA

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is a professional association of physicians specializing in obstetrics and gynecology in the United States. It is a 501(c)(3) organization with a membership of approximately 58,000 obstetrician-gynecologists and women's health care professionals. It was founded in 1951. A companion 501(c)(6) organization, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), was founded in 2008 and became operational in 2010. The two organizations coexist, and member individuals automatically belong to both. Both are not-for-profit. The College as a 501(c)(3) focuses on education, whereas the Congress as a 501(c)(6) is allowed to advocate for members' interests in terms of the business of medicine (BOM) through lobbying and other political work. Physician members are referred to as fellows and use the post-nominal letters FACOG to indicate their status. To become a fellow, a candidate must become certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, an independent organization, and then nominated to the College by another fellow.

City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983), was a case in which the United States Supreme Court affirmed its abortion rights jurisprudence. The case struck down several provisions of an Ohio abortion law, including portions found to be unconstitutionally vague.

Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973), was a landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman's liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. It struck down many U.S. state and federal abortion laws, and prompted an ongoing national debate in the United States about whether and to what extent abortion should be legal, who should decide the legality of abortion, what methods the Supreme Court should use in constitutional adjudication, and what the role of religious and moral views in the political sphere should be. Roe v. Wade reshaped U.S. politics, dividing much of the United States into pro-life and pro-choice camps, while activating grassroots movements on both sides.

Decision

Harry Blackmun's opinion for the Court rejected the Reagan Administration's position, reaffirming Roe.

Harry Blackmun American judge

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 until 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 prohibits many state and federal restrictions on abortion.

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 6-3.

Sandra Day OConnor Former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

Sandra Day O'Connor is a retired Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, who served from her 1981 appointment by President Ronald Reagan until her retirement in 2006. She was the first woman to serve on the Court.

Aftermath

Blackmun's opinion in Thornburgh emphasized women's rights, rather than the rights of physicians, the emphasis of his opinion in Roe: "Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman's decision - with the guidance of her physician and within the limits specified in Roe - whether to end her pregnancy. A woman's right to make that choice freely is fundamental." [1]

See also

The following is a complete list of cases decided by the United States Supreme Court organized by volume of the United States Reports in which they appear. This is a list of volumes of U.S. Reports, and the links point to the contents of each individual volume.

Related Research Articles

Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case regarding abortion. In a plurality opinion, the Court upheld the constitutional right to have an abortion that was established in Roe v. Wade (1973), but altered the standard for analyzing restrictions on that right, crafting the "undue burden" standard for abortion restrictions.

Warren E. Burger American judge

Warren Earl Burger was the 15th chief justice of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1986. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota, Burger graduated from the St. Paul College of Law in 1931. He helped secure the Minnesota delegation's support for Dwight D. Eisenhower at the 1952 Republican National Convention. After Eisenhower won the 1952 presidential election, he appointed Burger to the position of Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Civil Division. In 1956, Eisenhower appointed Burger to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Burger served on this court until 1969 and became known as a critic of the Warren Court.

Bowers v. Hardwick, 478 U.S. 186 (1986), is a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld, in a 5–4 ruling, the constitutionality of a Georgia sodomy law criminalizing oral and anal sex in private between consenting adults, in this case with respect to homosexual sodomy, though the law did not differentiate between homosexual sodomy and heterosexual sodomy. This case was overturned in 2003 in Lawrence v. Texas, though the Georgia statute had already been struck down in 1998.

Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973), was a decision of the United States Supreme Court 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.

Hodgson v. Minnesota, 497 U.S. 417 (1990), was a United States Supreme Court abortion rights case that dealt with whether a state law may require notification of both parents before a minor can obtain an abortion. The law in question provided a judicial alternative.

<i>Gonzales v. Carhart</i> United States Supreme Court case

Gonzales v. Carhart, 550 U.S. 124 (2007), is a United States Supreme Court case 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 United States 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 United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which had struck down the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

Rehnquist Court

The Rehnquist Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1986 to 2005, when William Rehnquist served as Chief Justice of the United States. Rehnquist succeeded Warren Burger as Chief Justice after the latter's retirement, and Rehnquist served as Chief Justice until his death in 2005, at which point John Roberts was nominated and confirmed as Rehnquist's replacement. The Rehnquist Court is generally considered to be more conservative than the preceding Burger Court and Warren Court. According to Jeffrey Rosen, Rehnquist combined an amiable nature with great organizational skill, and he "led a Court that put the brakes on some of the excesses of the Earl Warren era while keeping pace with the sentiments of a majority of the country." Biographer John Jenkins argued that Rehnquist politicized the Supreme Court and moved the court and the country to the right. Through its rulings, the Rehnquist Court often promoted a policy of New Federalism in which more power was given to the states at the expense of the federal government. The Rehnquist Court was also notable for its stability, as the same nine justices served together from 1994 to 2005, the longest such stretch in Supreme Court history.

Beal v. Doe, 432 U.S. 438 (1977), was a United States Supreme Court case that concerned the disbursement of federal funds in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania statute restricted federal funding to abortion clinics. The Supreme Court ruled states are not required to treat abortion in the same manner as potential motherhood. The opinion of the Court left the central holding of the Roe v. Wade decision – abortion as a right – intact. The statute was upheld, with Justice Powell writing the majority opinion.

Burger Court

The Burger Court refers to the Supreme Court of the United States from 1969 to 1986, when Warren Burger served as Chief Justice of the United States. Burger succeeded Earl Warren as Chief Justice after the latter's retirement, and Burger served as Chief Justice until his retirement, at which point William Rehnquist was nominated and confirmed as Burger's replacement. The Burger Court has been described as a "transitional" court which continued the liberal legacy of the Warren Court but transitioned into the more conservative Rehnquist Court.

Thornburgh is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Colautti v. Franklin, 439 U.S. 379 (1979), was a United States Supreme Court abortion rights case, which held void for vagueness part of Pennsylvania's 1974 Abortion Control Act. The section in question was the following:

(a) Every person who performs or induces an abortion shall prior thereto have made a determination based on his experience, judgment or professional competence that the fetus is not viable, and if the determination is that the fetus is viable or if there is sufficient reason to believe that the fetus may be viable, shall exercise that degree of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the fetus which such person would be required to exercise in order to preserve the life and health of any fetus intended to be born and not aborted and the abortion technique employed shall be that which would provide the best opportunity for the fetus to be aborted alive so long as a different technique would not be necessary in order to preserve the life or health of the mother.

United States v. Vuitch, 402 U.S. 62 (1971), was a United States Supreme Court abortion rights case, which held that the District of Columbia's abortion law banning the practice except when necessary for the health or life of the woman was not unconstitutionally vague.

Bigelow v. Commonwealth of Virginia, 421 U.S. 809 (1975), was a United States Supreme Court case that established First Amendment protection for advertising.

Abortion in Pennsylvania is legal. 51% of adults said in a poll by the Pew Research Center that abortion should be legal in all or most cases.

References

  1. 1 2 3 Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986).
  2. 1 2 Greenhouse, Linda. Becoming Justice Blackmun. Times Books. 2005. Page 183.