Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists

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Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued November 5, 1985
Decided June 11, 1986
Full case name Thornburgh, Governor of Pennsylvania, et al. v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, et al.
Citations 476 U.S. 747 (more)
106 S. Ct. 2169; 90 L. Ed. 2d 779; 54 U.S.L.W. 4618
Prior history 737 F.2d 283 (3d Cir. 1984 (affirmed)
Holding
Provisions of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 that "wholly subordinate constitutional privacy interests and concerns with maternal health to the effort to deter a woman from making a decision that, with her physician, is hers to make" were unconstitutional.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Blackmun, joined by Brennan, Marshall, Powell, Stevens
Concurrence Stevens
Dissent Burger
Dissent White, joined by Rehnquist
Dissent O'Connor, joined by Rehnquist
Laws applied
U.S. Const. amend. XIV
Overruled by
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992)

Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986) was a United States Supreme Court case involving a challenge to Pennsylvania's Abortion Control Act of 1982.[1]

Case facts[edit]

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists sought an injunction to all enforcement of the Pennsylvania law. Although the law in question was similar to the one in City of Akron v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, in Thornburgh the Reagan Administration asked the justices to overrule Roe v. Wade, a case which Chief Justice Burger had now decided to abandon.[1]

Opinion[edit]

Justice Blackmun's opinion for the Court rejected the Reagan Administration's position, reaffirming Roe. Justice O'Connor distanced herself from the court in dissent, "disput[ing] not only the wisdom but also the legitimacy of the Court's attempt to discredit and pre-empt state abortion regulation regardless of the interests it serves and the impact it has."[2] The 7-2 majority of Roe had now shrunk to 5-4.

Aftermath[edit]

Justice Blackmun's opinion in Thornburgh emphasized women's rights, rather than the rights of physicians, the emphasis of his opinion in Roe. He wrote: "Few decisions are more personal and intimate, more properly private, or more basic to individual dignity and autonomy, than a woman's decision - with the guidance of her physician and within the limits specified in Roe - whether to end her pregnancy. A woman's right to make that choice freely is fundamental."[3]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • Text of Thornburgh v. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 476 U.S. 747 (1986) is available from:  Findlaw  Justia  Cornell LII