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How the Supreme Court Kills Roe v. Wade

Posted On: Jul 11, 2018   |   Posted By: The New Republic

In 1992, the Supreme Court surprised the nation yet again with a ruling on abortion. Many observers expected that the justices would use Planned Parenthood v. Casey to strike down Roe v. Wade, or at least sharply curtail the 1973 decision's holding that the Constitution guarantees a woman's right to an abortion. Four of the justices had indicated three years earlier, in Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, that they would vote to overturn the landmark ruling. Indeed, notes from the court's retired justices indicated that after oral arguments in Casey, there were five votes to strike down Roe. Then Justice Anthony Kennedy changed his mind. He crafted an unusual plurality decision with justices Sandra Day O'Connor and David Souter that jettisoned Roe's trimester framework for evaluating when states can restrict abortion. In its place, the troika erected a new legal standard: Courts must evaluate whether those restrictions are an “undue burden” on a woman's right to obtain the procedure. Justice Harry...

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