Richard F. Gibbons, Jr., PLC
An Overview of Abortion
 
Abortion is a controversial topic in the United States. An abortion is defined as the spontaneous inducement that results in the expulsion of a fetus. There are statistics that support the contention that 40% of all women will have an abortion at some point during their reproductive lives. Abortions are one of the most frequently performed medical procedures in the United States. Women from every socioeconomic group obtain abortions.

Historical Prospective

In 1973, the United States Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade found that a Texas criminal abortion statute, prohibiting abortions at any stage of pregnancy except to save the life of the mother, was unconstitutional. The Court found that the woman had a constitutional right of privacy to encompass the decision of whether to terminate her pregnancy, however the Court found that the right was not absolute in nature.

Current State of the Law

In 1991, the Court heard another case, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey. The Court held that under an undue burden standard, a state may impose regulations concerning abortions prior to viability so long as the regulations do not impose an undue burden on the woman's ultimate decision of whether to have an abortion. However, after the fetus is viable, the state may regulate abortions. The only time that the state may not regulate the issue of abortion after the viability of the fetus has been established is when the abortion is medically necessary for the mother's life. The undue burden standard has been applied by several of the federal circuit courts.

Future of Abortion

Many people fear that because the issue of abortion is closely tied with political parties and appointments to the United States Supreme Court that abortion may again be abolished in the future. It is unclear whether the abolition of abortion will occur. Caselaw may continue to erode a woman's right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy or not. However, caselaw may also expand a woman's right to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy.

Copyright 2007 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.


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