Federal Court Ruling Perils Roe v. Wade

A US appeals court has upheld several major provisions of a strict Pennsylvania anti-abortion law. Pro-choice supporters say the ruling was a blow to the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.A three-judge panel of the Third US Circuit Court of Appeals said Oct. 21, in its long-awaited ruling on the class-action suit entitled Planned Parenthood v. Casey over the constitutionality of 1988 and '89 amendments to the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, that it did not consider the matter a Roe v. Wade case. But American Civil Liberties Union spokesman Phil Gutis said the decision struck a blow to the landmark Supreme Court ruling that established a woman's right to seek an abortion. In a 2-to-1 decision, the panel lifted a lower court injunction that had blocked provisions of the state law requiring a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for an abortion and parental consent, or a court order, for minors. The ruling also lifted an injunction blocking a provision of the law that requires doctors to tell women seeking abortions about alternatives to the procedure, such as adoption. The provision also requires doctors to tell women about potential psychological implications of terminating their pregnancies. But the court upheld an August 1990 injunction striking down a provision requiring married women to notify their husbands before having an abortion. In a written opinion, Judge Walter Stapleton said: "This case involves the regulation of abortion rather than its outright prohibition."

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