In Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, this Court reaffirmed that the decision to end a pregnancy prior to viability is a fundamental liberty protected by the Due Process Clause. 505 U.S. 833, 845-46 (1992). It held that a restriction on this liberty is impermissible if it amounts to an undue burden. Id. at 876-77. Under this standard, states may not enact “[u]nnecessary health regulations that have the purpose or effect of presenting a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking an abortion.” Id. at 878.
The questions presented are:
(a) When applying this standard, does a court err by refusing to consider whether and to what extent laws that restrict abortion for the stated purpose of promoting health actually serve the government’s interest in promoting health?
(b) Did the Fifth Circuit err in concluding that this standard permits Texas to enforce, in nearly all circumstances, laws that would cause a significant reduction in the availability of abortion services while failing to advance the State’s interest in promoting health—or any other valid interest?
DECISIONDecided June 27, 2016 HOLDING
Petitioners’ constitutional claims are not barred by res judicata. Both the admitting-privileges and the surgical-center requirements place a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking a previability abortion, constitute an undue burden on abortion access, and thus violate the Constitution.
BREYER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which KENNEDY, GINSBURG, SOTOMAYOR, and KAGAN, JJ., joined. GINSBURG, J., filed a concurring opinion. THOMAS, J., filed a dissenting opinion. ALITO, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which ROBERTS, C. J., and THOMAS, J., joined.
ORAL ARGUMENTArgued March 2, 2016
CERTIORARI STAGEGranted November 13, 2015
Certiorari Stage Documents
Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Brief in Opposition (pdf download)
Petitioner's Reply (pdf download)
Other Certiorari Stage Documents
Amicus Brief of Professors Michael Dorf, Helen Hershkoff, Gillian Metzger, Neil Siegel, and David Strauss supporting Petition f (pdf download)
Amicus Brief of New York, et al supporting Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Amicus Brief of National Abortion Federation supporting Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Amicus Brief of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, et al supporting Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
Amicus Brief of American Public Health Association supporting Petition for Certiorari (pdf download)
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
Decided June 9, 2015
SUPREME PODCAST COVERAGE
|DATE||TITLE||CASE STAGE||LISTEN NOW|
|2015-12-06||Introduction to 2015-16 Term - Five Case You Should Know||Certiorari Granted||go to coverage|
|2016-03-09||What Constitutes an Undue Burden on Abortion?||Oral Argument||go to coverage|
|2016-06-29||The Abortion Decision||Opinion||go to coverage|