April+12 - Current Moral Problems Lecture April 12 Three...

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Current Moral Problems Lecture April 12 Three Important U.S. Supreme Court Abortion Decisions and One Yet to be Delivered Roe v. Wade Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey Stenberg v. Carhart Gonzales v. Carhart  and  Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Roe v. Wade  (1973) Background 1973 decision Review of a Texas law that prohibited abortion except when it is necessary to prevent a  pregnant woman from dying A 7 to 2 majority opinion written by Justice Blackmun found the Texas law to be  unconstitutional. The Basis of the Decision Blackmun cited a constitutionally protected  right to privacy . “Privacy” refers to a zone of freedom from government interference. The right to privacy includes abortion decisions: “This right of privacy is broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to  terminate her pregnancy…” (SE, p. 46). The Right to Privacy Not explicitly referred to in the Constitution An “implied right” The right to privacy was earlier applied to the use of contraceptives (decisions about  whether to become pregnant): Griswold v. Connecticut  (1965) Important State Interests The Court held that the right to privacy is not absolute.
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It needs to be balanced with important state interests. The Court identified three important state interests that can justify restrictions on abortion  decisions: An interest in protecting health An interest in maintaining medical standards An interest in protecting potential life The Court’s Trimester Analysis During the first trimester, the right to privacy predominates and states may not impose  restrictions on abortions. Beginning at the end of the first trimester, the interest in protecting  the  health of pregnant   women  is compelling and states  may  impose restrictions designed to protect the  health of  pregnant women . After viability, the interest in protecting potential life is compelling and states  may  prohibit  abortion except when it is needed to protect the life or health of the pregnant woman. Why is Viability the Point at Which the State’s Interest in Protecting Potential Human Life Becomes  Compelling? The Court’s answer:
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course PHIL 130 taught by Professor Ernanimaghalhaes during the Fall '08 term at WVU.

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April+12 - Current Moral Problems Lecture April 12 Three...

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