Published online by Cambridge University Press: 31 March 2020
In 2016, Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt entered the post–Roe v. Wade canon of cases related to a pregnant person’s right to have a legal abortion in the United States. After the erosion of the abortion right in the Supreme Court’s 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, many abortion rights proponents feared that the Supreme Court’s decision in Whole Woman’s Health would severely curtail a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and perhaps even overrule Roe. In Casey, the Court adjudicated the constitutionality of a number of restrictions on abortion access posed by the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act of 1982 (as amended). The Casey plurality articulated the “undue burden” standard, which allowed a court to invalidate an abortion restriction that “has the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion of a nonviable fetus.” Under this new test, the Court upheld a twenty-four-hour waiting period, parental notification, and a biased informed consent requirement, while rejecting spousal notification.