Adam Bonin at Daily Kos approached the Center for information on abortion restrictions following the 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey. Bonin writes:
“The Casey decision — as any law student knows — wholly changed the framework for reproductive rights in America. Casey abandoned the strict scrutiny of the Roe regime, under which the government had to justify restrictions on abortion by showing that the restriction furthered a compelling state interest by the least restrictive means, and replaced it with a flimsy “undue burden” test, in which challengers to an abortion restriction bear the burden of proving that the law does not impose a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking the procedure.
Post-1992, abortion restrictions short of outright bans come in with a reasonably high presumption of constitutionality, and here’s just some of the ways in which reproductive rights have been curtailed since Casey:
- Parental Involvement laws: Affirmed by Casey itself. Over 40 states now have laws requiring parental consent for, or parental notification of, a teenager’s desire to have an abortion before a physician can perform the procedure. Forced parental involvement laws can delay teens’ access to abortion. They can lead to physical and emotional abuse from parents with whom teenagers did not want to share this decision, leading some young women to attempt to self-abort, seek dangerous illegal procedures, or harm themselves.
- Bans on methods of abortion: These bans have generally taken the form of bans on so-called “partial-birth abortions,” barring physicians from using particular methods that they find safe and effective. A federal ban is in place, as are multiple state-level bans.
- Mandatory delay and biased counseling: The Casey decision upheld restrictions that required women to hear the state’s message favoring childbirth over abortion and to delay their abortions for at least 24 hours after receiving that message. Besides interfering with the doctor-patient relationship, that extra trip (and the accompanying needs for travel expenses, childcare, and time away from work and family) can pose real obstacles, particularly for low-income women, women who live in rural areas, and women in abusive relationships. More states are adding ultrasound requirements that require physicians to display the ultrasound image for women to view, and, in the case of Oklahoma, to listen to a description of the fetus, even if the women does not wish to receive that information.
- Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers: Casey has ushered in a wave of laws that single out the medical practices of doctors who provide abortions, and impose on them requirements that are different and more burdensome than those imposed on other medical practices — expensive requirements that make it impossible for some providers to stay in business. For example, ambulatory surgical center (“ASC”) requirements mandate that abortion providers — including, in at least one state, those that provide only first-trimester medical or surgical abortions – be licensed as ASCs, which are sophisticated facilities designed for the performance of a range of out-patient surgeries. These requirements go far beyond the recommendations of the national health organizations in the field of abortion care, and converting a physician’s office or outpatient clinic into an ASC can be too expensive for many providers.
[Thanks to my friends at the Center for Reproductive Rights for helping assemble this research.]”