Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health

497 U.S. 502 (1990)

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Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health

United States Supreme Court
497 U.S. 502 (1990)

Facts

An Ohio statute required that a doctor notify the parents of an unmarried, unemancipated, minor woman who sought an abortion before the doctor provided the abortion. The statute’s alternative to parental notification was a judicial bypass, which allowed a woman to seek a judge’s consent to the abortion on her behalf. The application for judicial bypass required a woman’s signature. The statute forbade courts from notifying the woman’s parents of the matter and required judicial-bypass hearings and court filings to be managed in a way that would protect the woman’s anonymity. It was a criminal offense for a court employee to disclose documents that were not designated as public records. Rachael Roe (plaintiff) was an unmarried, unemancipated, minor woman who attempted to obtain an abortion at the Akron Center for Reproductive Health (Akron Center) (plaintiff). Roe, the Akron Center, and a physician who worked at the Akron Center (plaintiff) sued the State of Ohio (defendant) in federal district court, challenging the constitutionality of several aspects of the statute, including the requirement that the woman sign her application for judicial bypass. The district court issued a preliminary injunction and later a permanent injunction against the state, forbidding the state from enforcing the statute. The state appealed. The appellate court held that the signature requirement violated a woman’s right to anonymity. The state appealed again.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

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