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Bellotti v. Baird

Impact

Amid a major social debate within America regarding the social, legal, and religious issues related to abortion, the Court rendered a verdict that both reinforced Roe v. Wade and provided additional judicial guidance. Unequivocally, a woman--even a minor, unmarried woman--had the right to an abortion. Justices rationalized that the Constitution was not designed for adults alone; thus, the Massachusetts Unborn Children Act was adjudicated as unconstitutional because it infringed on the constitutionally-guaranteed right of every woman to seek an abortion. However, the justices pointed out that the rationale for rendering their verdict also depended on the observation that, in application, the statute amounted to nothing more than legislative enforcement of absolute parental consent and/or consultation as a prerequisite for a minor woman's abortion. While such restriction was not inherently in opposition to their decision in Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, a state had to provide a genuine, alternative means by which a minor could gain approval for legal abortion.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1973 to 1980Bellotti v. Baird - Significance, Impact