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Chapter 3

LEGALST 39D Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Harry Blackmun, William Rehnquist, Fetus

Legal Studies
Course Code
Alan Pomerantz

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Legal Studies 39D
- Issues of parental consent
- Spousal consent
- Argument that abortion mentality leads to infanticide, euthanasia and killing
of disabled and elderly person
- Morality of abortion?
- When does human life begin? Conception or based on your religious,
philosophical beliefs or opinion
Justice Blackmun, majority opinion
- TX statutes make it a crime to procure an abortion. Roe wished to terminate
her pregnancy by an abortion performed by a competent physican under safe
conditions, but could not get a legal abortion in TX and could not afford to
travel. She claims the YX statues abridged her right of personal privacy
protected by the 1st, 4th, 5th, 9th, 14th amendments
Issue: whether the Texas criminal abortion legislation is constitutional
-TX statute violates the due process of the 14th amendment
- Court looks at the history of abortion and state purposes and interests
behind such laws. 3 reasons explain the enactment of such laws (1) laws as
product of Victorian social concern to discourage illicit sexual conduct (2)
abortion as medical procedure was dangerous for women, modern
technology have altered this but state has an interest to protect the women
undergoing this procedure (3) state interest in protecting prenatal life,
resting on theory of human life begins at conception. Only when the life of the
mother is at stake should the interest of the fetus not prevail
- C does not mention right of privacy but Court has recognized a right of
personal privacy and determined that only fundamental personal rights are
included in this guarantee of personal privacy
-Right of privacy is broad enough to encompass a women’s decision to
terminate her pregnancy or not
- Court does NOT agree that a woman can terminate her pregnancy whenever
she wants and for whatever reason
- Some state regulation is appropriate to further interests in safeguarding
health, privacy right is not absolute
- None of C’s mentions of person has any possible pre-natal application and
legal abortion practices in 19th century were far freer than today
-State has an important and legitimate interest in preserving and
protecting the health of the pregnant women and the potentiality of
human life  each of these interests grow in substantiality and each
becomes compelling
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