a dispute where there is strong disagreement
We forthwith acknowledge our awareness of the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion
controversy, of the vigorous opposing views, even among physicians, and of the deep and seemingly absolute convictions that the subject inspires.
make less simple
In addition, population growth, pollution, poverty, and racial overtones tend to
complicate and not to simplify the problem.
a firm rebuke
We bear in mind, too, Mr. Justice Holmes'
admonition in his now-vindicated dissent in Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S. 45, 76 (1905): [The Constitution] is made for people of fundamentally differing views...
a judicial remedy to prohibit a party from doing something
She sought a declaratory judgment that the Texas criminal abortion statutes were unconstitutional on their face, and an
injunction restraining the defendant from enforcing the statutes.
temporary cessation or suspension
That court ordered the appeals held in
abeyance pending decision here. We postponed decision on jurisdiction to the hearing on the merits.
in conformance to or agreement with
It might have been preferable if the defendant,
pursuant to our Rule 20, had presented to us a petition for certiorari before judgment in the Court of Appeals with respect to the granting of the plaintiffs' prayer for declaratory relief.
the means of connection between things linked in series
nexus between the status asserted and the claim sought to be adjudicated," Flast v. Cohen, 392 U.S. at 102, and the necessary degree of contentiousness, Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103 (1969), are both present.
the period during which an embryo develops
But when, as here, pregnancy is a significant fact in the litigation, the normal 266-day human
gestation period is so short that the pregnancy will come to term before the usual appellate process is complete.
of no legal significance, as having been previously decided
If that termination makes a case
moot, pregnancy litigation seldom will survive much beyond the trial stage, and appellate review will be effectively denied.
bring to an end or halt
The principal thrust of appellant's attack on the Texas statutes is that they improperly invade a right, said to be possessed by the pregnant woman, to choose to
terminate her pregnancy.
represent or express something abstract in tangible form
Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal "liberty"
embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause; or in personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its penumbras...
a region of light shadow around the darkest part of a shadow
Appellant would discover this right in the concept of personal "liberty" embodied in the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause; or in personal, marital, familial, and sexual privacy said to be protected by the Bill of Rights or its
Those laws, generally
proscribing abortion or its attempt at any time during pregnancy except when necessary to preserve the pregnant woman's life, are not of ancient or even of common-law origin.
an ethical or moral principle that inhibits action
..."it was resorted to without
self-denial, especially refraining from worldly pleasures
..."[i]n no other stratum of Greek opinion were such views held or proposed in the same spirit of uncompromising
fill, as with a certain quality
These disciplines variously approached the question in terms of the point at which the embryo or fetus became "formed" or recognizably human, or in terms of when a "person" came into being, that is,
infused with a "soul" or "animated."
an insufficient quantity or number
That their reliance on Coke on this aspect of the law was uncritical and, apparently in all the reported cases, dictum (due probably to the
paucity of common law prosecutions...
a particular course of action intended to achieve a result
The State has a legitimate interest in seeing to it that abortion, like any other medical
procedure, is performed under circumstances that insure maximum safety for the patient.
the quality of being widespread
prevalence of high mortality rates at illegal "abortion mills" strengthens, rather than weakens, the State's interest in regulating the conditions under which abortions are performed.
by unexpressed agreement
They claim that adoption of the "quickening" distinction through received common law and state statutes
tacitly recognizes the greater health hazards inherent in late abortion and impliedly repudiates the theory that life begins at conception.
not limited or restricted
We, therefore, conclude that the right of personal privacy includes the abortion decision, but that this right is not
unqualified and must be considered against important state interests in regulation.
exercising influence or control
Although the results are divided, most of these courts have agreed that the right of privacy, however based, is broad enough to cover the abortion decision; that the right, nonetheless, is not absolute and is subject to some limitations; and that at some point the state interests as to protection of health, medical standards, and prenatal life, become
the act of enforcing something
Appellant, as has been indicated, claims an absolute right that bars any state
imposition of criminal penalties in the area.
the event that occurred at the beginning of something
Appellee argues that the State's determination to recognize and protect prenatal life from and after
conception constitutes a compelling state interest.
a remark that calls attention to something or someone
Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment contains three
references to "person." The first, in defining "citizens," speaks of "persons born or naturalized in the United States."
talk over conjecturally, or review in an idle or casual way
We need not resolve the difficult question of when life begins. When those trained in the respective disciplines of medicine, philosophy, and theology are unable to arrive at any consensus, the judiciary, at this point in the development of man's knowledge, is not in a position to
speculate as to the answer.
capable of life or normal growth and development
Physicians and their scientific colleagues have regarded that event with less interest and have tended to focus either upon conception, upon live birth, or upon the interim point at which the fetus becomes "
viable," that is, potentially able to live outside the mother's womb, albeit with artificial aid. Viability is usually placed at about seven months (28 weeks) but may occur earlier, even at 24 weeks.
determined by conditions or circumstances that follow
In areas other than criminal abortion, the law has been reluctant to endorse any theory that life, as we recognize it, begins before live birth or to accord legal rights to the unborn except in narrowly defined situations and except when the rights are
contingent upon live birth.
a wrongdoing for which an action for damages may be brought
For example, the traditional rule of
tort law denied recovery for prenatal injuries even though the child was born alive.
driving or forcing
With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in the health of the mother, the "
compelling" point, in the light of present medical knowledge, is at approximately the end of the first trimester.
the act of controlling or directing according to rule
Examples of permissible state
regulation in this area are requirements as to the qualifications of the person who is to perform the abortion; as to the licensure of that person; as to the facility in which the procedure is to be performed, that is, whether it must be a hospital or may be a clinic or some other place of less-than-hospital status; as to the licensing of the facility; and the like.
reach, make, or come to a decision about something
This means, on the other hand, that, for the period of pregnancy prior to this "compelling" point, the attending physician, in consultation with his patient, is free to
determine, without regulation by the State, that, in his medical judgment, the patient's pregnancy should be terminated.
something that shows an action to be reasonable or necessary
With respect to the State's important and legitimate interest in potential life, the "compelling" point is at viability. This is so because the fetus then presumably has the capability of meaningful life outside the mother's womb. State regulation protective of fetal life after viability thus has both logical and biological
an act passed by a legislative body
A state criminal abortion
statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a life-saving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
following in time or order
For the stage
subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
suitable for a particular person, place, or situation
For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in
appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
This holding, we feel, is consistent with the relative weights of the
respective interests involved, with the lessons and examples of medical and legal history, with the lenity of the common law, and with the demands of the profound problems of the present day.
show to be right by providing justification or proof
vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention.
in an essential manner
Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is
inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician.
not consistent with or according to fundamental laws
We find it unnecessary to decide whether the District Court erred in withholding injunctive relief, for we assume the Texas prosecutorial authorities will give full credence to this decision that the present criminal abortion statutes of that State are