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Rulings on Minors' Abortions

November 03, 1987|From a Times Staff Writer

These are the Supreme Court's major rulings on abortion and minors:

1973--Roe vs. Wade: On a 7-2 vote, the court rejected all state laws prohibiting abortion. The majority opinion, by Justice Harry A. Blackmun, concluded that "the right to personal privacy includes the abortion decision but that this right is not unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation."

1976--Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri vs. Danforth: The court struck down a parental consent requirement for minors on a 5-4 vote. "The state does not have the constitutional authority to give a third party an absolute and possibly arbitrary veto over the decision of the physician and his patient," Blackmun wrote. ". . . Constitutional rights do not mature and come into being magically only when one attains the state-defined age of maturity."

1979--Bellotti vs. Baird: Eight justices struck down a Massachusetts law that required parental consent except in extraordinary circumstances. Four justices said parents should have a role in their daughter's decision but suggested that she should have the option of getting permission through a court. Four others said the girl's right to an abortion may not be blocked.

1981--H.L. vs. Matheson: On a 6-3 vote, the court upheld a Utah law requiring that parents be notified before a minor's abortion, concluding that an immature girl living at home is under her parents' control. But the court said it was not considering the case of a mature girl who is at odds with her parents.

1983--Akron vs. Akron Center for Reproductive Health: The court, on a 5-4 vote, struck down a series of city regulations, including a prohibition on abortions for girls under 15 without parental consent and a required 24-hour wait for all women after the consent form had been signed. By another 5-4 margin on the same day, however, the justices issued a ruling that appears to head in the opposite direction. In Planned Parenthood of Kansas City vs. Ashcroft, the court upheld a series of state regulations, including a requirement of parental consent for minors, with the option of going to court to get permission.

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