Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v Casey

Paper Type:  Case study
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1052 Words
Date:  2024-01-10


Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v Casey was a case in the United States Supreme court regarding abortion. The court upheld the right to have an abortion, but the justice changed the restrictions set (Zirrith, 1992). The Pennsylvanian Abortion Control Act had placed many substantial obstacles on women seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability. The Supreme Court crafted the undue burden standards for abortion restriction. The issue that was mainly under consideration was about informed consent. Other challenges were the requirement for a waiting period, the spouse's consent, and for minors, the parent’s approval. The procedural hurdles imposed by Pennsylvania were supposed to discourage abortion. In the Bible, there is the commandment that one should not kill, but many people have argued that life begins at birth. In the book of Luke, when Mary greeted Elizabeth, the baby in her womb leaped with joy (Bible, 1996). The verse approves that life starts in the womb.

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The Supreme Court held the constitutional right to abortion. It was held that any regulation that was aimed at preventing women from having an abortion is "undue burden" and violates the Constitutional right of a woman. Roe's essential holding was upheld as follows; Women were supposed to have the right to have an abortion any time before viability without any restrictions from the state. The government can control the abortions that happen post-viability, and finally, the government has a legitimate interest in protecting the woman’s health or that of a child.

O’Conner, Kennedy, and Souter overturned the Roe trimester analysis in their plurality decision. The law was divided into three trimesters, whereby the state was utterly forbidden from regulating abortion in the first trimester (Zirrith, 1992). In the second one, there were permitted regulations aimed at improving the health of the woman. In the third trimester, the law allowed prohibition to abortion. In the third stage, that fetus is viable. The three justices found that the viability was happening earlier at 23 or 24 weeks instead of 28 as concluded by the Roe Court (Zirrith, 1992). The earlier viability was attributed to the improvement in medical technology. The plurality opinion observed that viability was better than the trimester framework. Under the viability framework, the justice ruled that the state could protect human life by controlling or even prohibiting abortion entirely except in medical emergencies.

A woman is the one who has the decision of whether to keep the child or not. The Bible teaching is that life is sacred and begins from the womb. "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you before you were born, I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations" (Jeremiah 1:5). God talks to Jeremiah that he is the one who formed him in his mother’s womb. He was therefore a living creature even before viability or the first trimester. The mother stayed with the child for nine months after he was formed in her womb. He was not created the day that he was born. Therefore, if Jeremiah's mother did an abortion even before the viability, he could have killed a prophet of God (Bible, 1996).


Justice Rehnquist and Scalia upheld the parental consent, informed consent, and waiting period but dissented on the spousal notification law. In their opinion, they said that the law was undermined the right to privacy. The woman having to notify the husband was classified as an “undue burden” (Clause & Mitchell, 1993). It is an obstacle since the man is likely not to consent to abortion, and the woman is forced to carry the pregnancy against her wishes. The right to privacy also means that the individual should have a personal decision on whether to bear a child or not without the government's unwarranted intrusion.

The court held that a woman’s decision to do an abortion involved ‘liberty interests' and ‘privacy interests’ protected by the Constitution’s Due Process (Clause & Mitchell, 1993). The states should not interfere in one’s marriage, relationships, contraception, and procreation, among other issues. The government has an interest in the mother and the fetus's health but should not create obstacles in cases where the mother wishes to have an abortion. The Constitution guarantees everyone a right to privacy.

People have had a different understanding of privacy as it is enshrined in the Constitution. The justices meant that a woman should be able to decide about abortion without interference from the state. In this understanding, a woman can have an abortion before viability without any restriction from the state. The husband also should not be informed. In another opinion, although the government is observing the woman's privacy, she should tell the husband since he can be violent once he learns that the woman is doing it without her consent. Some view the unborn child as a property of the husband and the wife.


Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v Casey affirms the holding of the Roe v Wade case. It was held that a woman can have an abortion before viability, and the state should not interfere with her decision. The government should not put obstacles that are aimed at preventing women from aborting. The leaders can put some regulations to control abortion after viability but with the exemption in emergency cases. Before viability, it is the woman's role to decide whether she is ready to have a child or not. In the Bible, abortion is not condemned directly, but there are verses showing that life begins after conception. The book of Jeremiah shows that the prophet was formed in his mother's womb by God. There is a commandment that instructs Christians that they should not kill.


Bible, K. J. (1996). King James Bible. Proquest LLC.

Tyler, T. R., & Mitchell, G. (1993). Legitimacy and the empowerment of discretionary legal authority: The United States Supreme Court and abortion rights. Duke LJ, 43, 703.

Zirrith, D. J. (1992). Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v. Casey: Chipping Away at Roe v. Wade. J. Pharmacy & L., 1, 259.

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Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v Casey. (2024, Jan 10). Retrieved from

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