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Gonzales v. Carhart

United States Supreme Court
550 U.S. 124, 127 S.Ct. 1610, 167 L.Ed.2d 480 (2007)



In November 2003, President Bush signed into law the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act (PBABA). The PBABA prohibited “intact dilation and evacuation” (Intact D&E), a particular manner of ending fetal life in the second trimester whereby a surgeon killed the fetus by dilating the mother’s cervix, piercing the fetus’s skull with scissors, and using suction to extract the fetus from the uterus. When Congress passed the PBABA in 2003, more than thirty states had laws prohibiting the procedure. Dr. Leroy Carhart (plaintiff), a physician that performed Intact D&E, brought suit in federal district court against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (defendant) seeking to enjoin the PBABA from taking effect. Carhart argued that the PBABA was unconstitutionally overbroad and lacked a health exception for partial-birth abortions necessary to protect the health of the mother. The district court ruled for Carhart and held the PBABA unconstitutional. The court of appeals affirmed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

Dissent (Ginsburg, J.)

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