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Reproductive Health Services, 492 U. Although subsequent maternal health care advances allow for later abortions safe to the pregnant woman, and post-Roe neonatal care developments have advanced viability to a point somewhat earlier, these facts go only to the scheme of time limits on the realization of competing interests. Thus, any later divergences from the factual premises of Roe have no bearing on the validity of its central holding, that viability marks the earliest point at which the State's interest in fetal life is constitutionally adequate to justify a legislative ban on nontherapeutic abortions.

The soundness or unsoundness of that constitutional judgment in no sense turns on when viability occurs. Whenever it may occur, its attainment will continue to serve as the critical fact.

New York, 198 U. Those lines were overruledby, respectively, West Coast Hotel Co. Board of Education, 347 U. The overruling decisions were comprehensible to the Nation, and defensible, as the Court's responses to changed circumstances.

In contrast, because neither the factual underpinnings of Roe's central holding nor this Court's understanding of it has changed (and because no other indication of weakened precedent has been shown), the Court could not pretend to be reexamining Roe with any justification beyond a present doctrinal disposition to come out differently from the Roe Court.

That is an inadequate basis for overruling a prior case. Where the Court acts to resolve the sort of unique, intensely divisive controversy reflected in Roe, its decision has a dimension not present in normal cases and is entitled to rare precedential force to counter the inevitable efforts to overturn it and to thwart its implementation. Only the most convincing justification under accepted standards of precedent could suffice to demonstrate that a later decision overruling the first was anything but a surrender to political pressure and an unjustified repudiation of the principle on which the Court staked its authority in the first instance.

Moreover, the country's loss of confidence in the Judiciary would be underscored by condemnation for the Court's failure to keep faith with those who support the decision at a cost to themselves.

A decision to overrule Roe's essential holding under the existing circumstances would address error, if error there was, at the cost of both profound and unnecessary damage to the Court's legitimacy and to the Nation's commitment to the rule of law.

Justice O'CONNOR, Justice KENNEDY, and Justice SOUTER concluded in Part IV that an examination of Roe v. An undue burden exists, and therefore a provision of law is invalid, if its purpose or effect is to place substantial obstacles in the path of a woman seeking an abortion before the fetus attains viability.

To promote the State's interest in potential life throughout pregnancy, the State may take measures to ensure that the woman's choice is informed. Measures designed to advance this interest should not be invalidated if their purpose is to persuade the woman to choose childbirth over abortion.

These measures must not be an undue burden on the right. Justice O'CONNOR, Justice KENNEDY, and Justice SOUTER delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to Parts V-A and V-C, concluding that:1. Although the definition could be interpreted in an unconstitutional manner, this Court defers to lower federal court interpretations of state law unless they amount to "plain" error.

Section 3209's husband notification provision constitutes an undue burden and is therefore invalid. A significant number of women will likely be prevented from obtaining an abortion just as surely as if Pennsylvania had outlawed the procedure entirely.

Furthermore, it cannot be claimed that the father's interest in the fetus' welfare is equal to the mother's protected liberty, since it is an inescapable biological fact that state regulation with respect to the fetus will have a far greater impact on the pregnant woman's bodily integrity than it will on the husband.

Section 3209 embodies a view of marriage consonant with the common-law status of married women but repugnant to this Court's present understanding of marriage and of the nature of the rights secured by the Constitution. See Planned Parenthood of Central Mo.

Justice O'CONNOR, Justice KENNEDY, and Justice SOUTER, joined by Justice STEVENS, concluded in Part V-E that all of the statute's recordkeeping and reporting requirements, except that relating to spousal notice, are constitutional.

The reporting provision relating to the reasons a married woman has not notified her husband that she intends to have an abortion must be invalidated because it places an undue burden on a woman's choice. Justice O'CONNOR, Justice KENNEDY, and Justice SOUTER concluded in Parts V-B and V-D that:1. Section 3205's informed consent provision is not an undue burden on a woman's constitutional right to decide to terminate a pregnancy. To the extent Akron I, 462 U.

Requiring that the woman be informed of the availability of information relating to the consequences to the fetus does not interfere with a constitutional right of privacy between a pregnant woman and her physician, since the doctor-patient relation is derivative of the woman's position, and does not underlie or override the abortion right. Moreover, the physician's First Amendment rights not to speak are implicated only as part of the practice of medicine, which is licensed and regulated by the State.

There is no evidence here that requiring a doctor to give the required information would amount to a substantial obstacle to a woman seeking abortion. The premise behind Akron I's invalidation of a waiting period between the provision of the information deemed necessary to informed consent and the performance of an abortion, id. Section 3206's one-parent consent requirement and judicial bypass procedure are constitutional. Akron Center for Reproductive Health, 497 U.