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Colautti v. Franklin

Significance, A Specific Definition Of Viability, An Intrusion Upon The Police Powers Of The States


Aldo Colautti


John Franklin, M.D.

Appellant's Claim

That a Pennsylvania statute dealing with abortion and the viability of fetuses was not unconstitutionally vague.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Carol Los Mansmann

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

Roland Morris

Justices for the Court

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

Justices Dissenting

Warren E. Burger, William H. Rehnquist, Byron R. White


Washington, D.C.

Date of Decision

9 January 1979


Affirmed the judgment of the district court that the viability-determination requirement of the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act was void due to vagueness. The law's standard-of-care provision was also found to be impermissibly vague.

Related Cases

  • 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).
  • Webster v. Reproductive Health Services, 492 U.S. 490 (1989).

Further Readings

  • Gans Epner, Janet E., Harry S. Jonas, and Daniel L. Seckinger. "Late-Term Abortion." Journal of the American Medical Association, August 26, 1998, p. 724.
  • Hall, Kermit L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States. New York: Oxford Press, 1992.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980