H. L. v. Matheson
|H. L. v. Matheson|
|Argued October 6, 1980|
Decided March 23, 1981
|Full case name||H. L. v. Scott M. Matheson, Governor of Utah, et al.|
|Citations||450 U.S. 398 (more)|
|A state may require a doctor to inform a teenaged girl's parents before performing an abortion or face criminal penalty.|
|Majority||Burger, joined by Stewart, White, Powell, Rehnquist|
|Concurrence||Powell, joined by Stewart|
|Dissent||Marshall, joined by Brennan, Blackmun|
H. L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398 (1981), was a United States Supreme Court abortion rights case, according to which a state may require a doctor to inform a teenaged girl's parents before performing an abortion or face criminal penalty.
A female minor, known by her initials H.L., was living in Utah with her parents when she became pregnant in 1978. A doctor advised H.L. that an abortion would be in her best medical interests. A Utah law enacted in 1974 required abortion providers to "[n]otify, if possible" the parents of any female under the age of majority who is scheduled to undergo an abortion, at least 24 hours before the abortion. Violation was a misdemeanor subject to a fine up to $1000 and/or several months imprisonment. H.L. initiated a lawsuit as part of a proposed class action of unmarried unemancipated females, arguing that Utah's parental notification statute was unconstitutional. Scott M. Matheson, then the governor of Utah, was named as the defendant.
The case made its way to the Utah Supreme Court, where the law was upheld as consistent with Roe v. Wade (1973). The judgment noted, among other points, that H.L.'s proposed class action was overly broad; and that the Utah statute mandated parental notification but did not grant parents authority to stop such an abortion.
The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. Utah's statute was upheld on a 6 to 3 vote.
- H. L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398 (1981).
- Utah Code Annotated § 76-7-304(2). Note that as of 2008, the law has been revised to exclude parental notification requirement if a doctor advises an abortion is medically necessary to save the mother's life or avoid serious medical complications, if the parents have a history of abuse towards the minor female, if the pregnancy is a result of parental incest, or if the parents have not assumed responsibility for the minor's care and upbringing.
- M. H. Wolff & R. H. Hawn, H.L. v. Matheson and the right of minors to seek abortions, 19 Cal. West L. Rev. 74 (1982)
- B. Bridge, Parent versus child: H.L. v. Matheson and the new abortion litigation, 55 Wisc. L. Rev. 75 (1982)
- M. A. Medler, H.L. v. Matheson: parental notice prior to abortion, 26 St. Louis U.L.J. 426 (1982)
- Gail H. Miller, H. L. v. Matheson: Can Parental Notification be Required for Minors Seeking Abortions?, 16 U. Rich. L. Rev. 429 (1982)
- Text of H. L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398 (1981) is available from: CourtListener Findlaw Google Scholar Justia Library of Congress Oyez
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