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Bellotti v. Baird - Significance, Impact

court abortion william law


Francis X. Bellotti, Attorney General of Massachusetts


William R. Baird, Jr.

Appellant's Claim

Massachusetts' Act to Protect Unborn Children and Maternal Health is constitutional even if minor women are not permitted to have an abortion without parental consent and cannot obtain a court order permitting abortion without notification of parents.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Gerrick F. Cole

Chief Lawyers for Appellee

Joseph J. Balliro, John H. Henn

Justices for the Court

Harry A. Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (writing for the Court), William H. Rehnquist, John Paul Stevens, Potter Stewart

Justices Dissenting

Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

2 July 1979


The U.S Supreme Court affirmed a federal district court's finding that a Massachusetts statute regulating abortions to minors was unconstitutional because it required notification and consultation of parents, even if a court found an adolescent competent and sufficiently mature to make her own decision about receiving an abortion.

Related Cases

  • Pierce v. Society of Sisters, 268 U.S. 510 (1925).
  • McKeiver v. Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528 (1971).
  • Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973).
  • Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179 (1973).
  • Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52 (1976).

Further Readings

  • Benshoof, Janet. "Abortion Rights and Wrongs." The Nation, October 14, 1996, p. 19.
  • The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy. http://www.crlp.org
  • Oberman, Michelle. "Turning Girls into Women: Re-Evaluating Modern Statutory Rape Law." Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, summer 1994, p. 15.
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