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In Its Crusade Against Choice, Has the GOP Gone Too Far?

Are these laws illegal?

Katha, you and many others have been writing about the GOP’s attack on abortion rights, but one of the things I never see in these many articles is a discussion of how the various regulations in the states have not violated the law as clarified in the court decision in Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Even though the Casey ruling upheld some of the changes to abortion law in Pennsylvania, it also specifically prohibited states from placing an undue burden on women. Wikipedia does a good job of giving the overview:

The plurality also replaced the heightened scrutiny of abortion regulations under Roe, which was standard for fundamental rights in the Court’s case law, with a lesser “undue burden” standard previously developed by O’Connor in her dissent in Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health. A legal restriction posing an undue burden was defined as one having “the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” The plurality also overruled City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 462 U.S. 416 (1983) and Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986), each of which applied “strict scrutiny” to abortion restrictions.

How is it that many of the draconian prohibitions and obstacles put in place since Casey was decided do not violate the requirement of undue burden? Have plaintiff’s attorneys fought this battle and lost, and I was not aware of it? And if they haven’t, why haven’t they? I would think PP would be in the forefront of the fight. If you enlighten me on this score I would appreciate it, because it seems like most of these new laws, including the ones requiring doctors to lie to patients about scientific facts like breast cancer and depression, are clearly illegal under the law.

Debi Riggs Shaw

Philadelphia, PA

Mar 6 2011 - 1:27pm