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Legality of Abortion:
  1. Abortion in Pennsylvania

Roe v. Wade

Prior to 1967 every state prohibited abortion except to save the life of the mother. After 1967, Colorado, California, New York, Alaska and Hawaii were the first states to legalize abortion.

The Roe v. Wade decision was handed down January 22, 1973, legalizing abortion in all 50 states.

» The Chief Justices divided a pregnancy into trimesters – first, middle and last.
» Roe mandates that States may not prohibit any abortions before “viability”.
» The Court justified decision under the Constitution’s “right to privacy”. * **
» The Court determined that the fetus is not a person but a “potential life”, and thus does not have constitutional rights of its own. Therefore, “the word ‘person’, as used in the Fourteenth Amendment, does not include the unborn”.

Roe vs. Wade legalized abortion for any reason (on demand) during the first trimester. During this first trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s privacy right is strongest and the state may not regulate abortion for any reason; They allowed abortion to be legal in the second trimester if a medical reason necessitated it and required it to be done in a hospital and by a medical doctor. Third trimester abortions are permitted only in the case of the exceptions – rape, incest or if the life of the mother is at risk.

*“The Constitution does not explicitly mention any right of privacy”, but the Court has found “at least the roots of that right” in the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments, and in the penumbras of the Bill of Rights. Roe v.Wade 410 U.S. at 129.
** It said the right to privacy “ is broad enough –to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”
· Because this abortion issue falls under a woman’s “right to privacy”, very few health regulations apply to abortion clinics.
» In fact, a veterinarian must abide by more restrictions and regulations than an abortionist.
» The right-to-privacy is determined to be more important than the right-to-life!

The annual March for Life takes place on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in Washington, DC. Marchers gather for inspirational speeches and then march slowly to the Supreme Court.

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Dred Scott Decision (Taney vs. Scott)

The Dred Scott Decision in 1857 (Taney vs. Scott) determined a slave is not a legal person – he is property of his slave-owner. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled “a man has a right to do what he wants with his property”. They also said that Mr. Scott was only 3/5 of a human being. Mr. Scott only wanted the right to vote.

Please note the same language is used in both the Dred Scott Decision as well as the Roe v. Wade Decision.

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Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court Decision

The Doe v. Bolton Supreme Court Decision, handed down by the same court on the same day as Roe vs. Wade, allows abortion to be legal up to the day before delivery if a mother’s health * necessitated it. Therefore, under Roe and Doe, a woman must be permitted to obtain an abortion through all nine months if it is for her “well-being”.

*Mother’s health is defined as physical, emotional, financial, age of mother, psychological and familial.

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Planned Parenthood of Missouri v. Danforth

In Planned Parenthood of Missouri v. Danforth, (1976). this court case ruled that the father (married or unmarried to the mother) has absolutely no rights regarding the abortion decision and this has been upheld countless times in court cases.

Ironically, the father, married or unmarried, is responsible for a living child’s financial support until they turn 18.

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Planned Parenthood v. Casey

Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992). The law on abortion was further clarified in this case. In this 1992 case the Court said states could regulate abortion to require parental involvement when minors were involved, require a waiting period between seeking and obtaining an abortion, and require doctors to provide detailed medical information before obtaining consent for the abortion. The Doe vs.Bolton health exception to abortion restrictions throughout pregnancy was not altered.

*Planned Parenthood of Southeastern PA. V. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

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Stenberg vs. Carhart

In 2000 the Supreme Court again ruled on abortion in Stenberg vs. Carhart. Here the Court said that a state could not prohibit the late-term abortion procedure called partial-birth abortion.
* Planned Parenthood v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914 (2000).

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Abortion in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act was passed in 1989 (due to the determined efforts of Rep. Steve Freind from Havertown, Delaware County) but was held up by court injunction until 1994.

This resulted in the sharpest drop in the daily abortion rate. It dropped more than 22% in four years.
As a result, Pennsylvania was among the nation’s leaders with the third-fastest declining abortion rate in the nation.

  • Abortion for unemancipated (supporting herself) minors (less than 18 years of age) requires the informed consent of both the pregnant woman and one parent prior to an abortion. If both of the parents or guardians of the pregnant woman refuse to consent…or if she elects not to seek the consent…the court of common pleas of the judicial district in which the applicant resides or in which the abortion is sought shall…authorize…the abortion if the court determines that the pregnant woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent. (Judicial Bypass).
  • Women are provided a right to know for informed consent 24 hours prior to an abortion. Informed consent is designed to insure that when people make important medical decisions, they have been told the truth and have been truly informed.
  • Abortion is legal for any reason by any means during the first six months of pregnancy, the second trimester abortions must be done in a hospital, but in the last trimester of pregnancy abortion is restricted only to cases that affect the life or the health of the mother is seriously threatened.
  • For the purpose of promotion of maternal health, a report of each abortion performed shall be made to state officials. The report forms shall not identify the individual patient by name and shall include the following information:

    1. Identification of physician.
    2. The county and state in which the woman resides.
    3. The woman’s age.
    4. The number of prior pregnancies and prior abortions of the woman.
    5. The gestational age of the unborn child at the time of the abortion.
    6. The type of procedure performed or prescribed and the date of the abortion.
  • The abortionist must offer the woman information about:

    1. The gestation of the unborn child.
    2. The physical dangers of abortion for her health. Abortion is an invasive procedure.
    3. The opportunity to view her child on an ultrasound. Studies show that when a woman in crisis has a chance to view her unborn baby on the ultrasound screen, 85% will decide against abortion.
    4. Alternatives available to the woman, including financial assistance if she bears the child. * The mother is allowed under law to refuse any or all of this information, but the law requires the abortionist to make it available.
    5. Information about adoption options.
  • The woman then must wait 24 hours to reflect on her decision before the abortion can be performed.

*The Delaware Valley Pro-Life Alliance – DVPLA – has a 24 hour hotline – 610-626-4006.

The DVPLA are agencies that share a common desire to provide real, practical options that include pregnancy testing and counseling, comprehensive pre-natal and post-natal care, housing assistance, family support, post-abortion counseling, and adoption services.

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Abortion harms women

The aftermath of abortion will be an issue long after the abortion.

» Physically – damaged cervix, perforated uterus, hemorrhage, infection. 200 women have died since 1973 when abortion became legal.
» Emotionally – regret, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and guilt.
» Spiritually

Three typical reactions as determined by Vincent Rue, Ph.D., Post-Abortion Syndrome.

1. Immediate
2. Anniversary
3. Delayed – the most common, but manifests destructive behavior.

70% of relationships fail one month following the abortion.

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Abortion harms men

Men are suffering, still new issue with little information.
~ MARC Ministries – Men’s Abortion Recovery Ministries – 610-384-3210/

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Many alternatives to abortion are available:

In the Philadelphia area alone there are 100 Crisis Pregnancy Centers and more than 3,500 throughout the United States.

  1. The Project Rachel hot-line refers women to counselors dedicated to helping women who suffer from Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). The hot-line received a call from an 80 year old woman who had an abortion 50 years ago. She said not a day has gone by that she does not feel regret and guilt.
    Project Rachel – 215-587-5640 or
  2. Rachel’s Vineyard provides weekend retreats for anyone suffering from PAS. Retreats have been given around the world. Founded and directed by Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph.D.
    1-877-hope4me or www.rachel’
  3. The Elliott Institute provides research on post-abortion. – a resource for post-abortion healing.
  4. Fortress International is a rape crisis support group.
    They can be contacted at PO Box 1373, South Bend, IN 46624 / 219-288-3688


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