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PLANNED PARENTHOOD ASSN. v. FITZPATRICK

September 4, 1975

PLANNED PARENTHOOD ASSOCIATION et al., Plaintiff, OBSTETRICAL SOCIETY OF PHILADELPHIA, Intervenor Plaintiff,
v.
F. EMMETT FITZPATRICK, JR., and FRANK S. BEAL, Defendants, and ROBERT P. KANE and THE COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, Intervenor Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: GREEN

This action comes before this Court upon a complaint challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted Pennsylvania abortion statute, titled the "Abortion Control Act," *fn1" Act No. 209 (P.L.) *fn2" Plaintiffs contend that the overriding purpose and dominant effect of the statute under attack is to discourage and interfere with certain clearly defined, constitutionally protected rights of the plaintiffs. Thus, they claim the statute should be invalidated in its entirety, despite the presence of a severability clause. Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and jurisdiction is invoked under 28 U.S.C. § 1343.

 On September 26, 1974, a three-judge court was designated on plaintiffs' application and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2281. Oral argument on the plaintiffs' application for a preliminary injunction was heard on October 9, 1974, and a preliminary injunction was entered on October 10, 1974, which enjoined the enforcement of Sections 3(b)(i), 3(b)(ii), 3(e), 5(a), 5(d), 6(b), 6(c) except as it requires a licensed physician to perform an abortion within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 6(d), 6(i) except as it relates to 6(f), 7, and the definitions of "viable" and "informed consent" in Section 2. Also on October 10, 1974, this Court granted leave to the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia to intervene as a party plaintiff.

 On December 4, 1974, the plaintiffs filed a motion seeking a class action determination. Physician plaintiffs contended that the members of the proposed class "included, not only physicians who regularly perform abortions, but also those who may, in the course of their practice, be called upon to counsel their patients with regard to the option of abortion, which necessarily includes virtually all physicians who practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." Plaintiffs also contended that the members of the proposed sub-class included board-certified obstetrician-gynecologists, who were members of the Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia, and who maintained their medical practice in Pennsylvania. The physician class plaintiffs allege that enforcement of the Abortion Control Act would "abridge their constitutionally protected rights: (1) to practice medicine in a manner consistent with the highest standards of their profession, (2) to be protected from unconstitutional intrusion of the physician-patient relationship in the decision making and treatment of pregnancy, and (3) the rights of their patients to terminate pregnancies under the conditions set forth in the Supreme Court opinions in Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S. Ct. 705, 35 L. Ed. 2d 147 (1973), and Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 93 S. Ct. 739, 35 L. Ed. 2d 201 (1973)." On December 10, 1974 this Court certified the instant action to be a class action.

 This matter came before the Court for final hearings on the merits from January 13, 1975 through January 17, 1975 and on March 10, 1975. Thereafter, we granted the motions of the Attorney General of Pennsylvania and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to intervene as parties defendant.

 Plaintiff Dr. John Franklin is a licensed medical doctor practicing in the state of Pennsylvania, board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Dr. Franklin is a member of the staff at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, the medical director of plaintiff Planned Parenthood Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Inc., the medical director of Booth Memorial Hospital of the Salvation Army, and a member of the intervening plaintiff Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia. In his capacity as medical director of Planned Parenthood, he supervises the operation of its clinic which provides family planning services, including birth control, pregnancy testing, pregnancy counselling and referral. In the calendar year 1974, Dr. Franklin performed 21 abortions through November 20th; and in the calendar year 1973, he performed 24 abortions. In 1971 and 1972, Dr. Franklin was the medical director of Philadelphia Family Planning, Inc., where he did approximately 10 to 12 abortion procedures a week for one year.

 Plaintiff Concern for Health Options: Information, Care and Education, Inc. (CHOICE) is a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1974. CHOICE provides counselling and referral for pregnant women; and over 1,000 women have been seen at eight centers in and around Philadelphia. In addition to its counselling and referral program, CHOICE performs ongoing evaluation of the services available to pregnant women, especially medical services. CHOICE publishes a "Resource and News Bulletin" which is distributed to its counsellors, all social service agencies which assist women with problem pregnancies, and other interested persons.

 Plaintiff Clergy Consultation Service of Northeast Pennsylvania is a voluntary organization of clergy and women, who provide free counselling and referral for pregnant women. Clergy Consultation Service counsellors assist approximately 50 women per month, at three sites located in Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton. Most of these counselled women are medically indigent, most are under 21 years of age, and most of them are single.

 Intervening plaintiff Obstetrical Society of Philadelphia is a voluntary professional association of board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists; formed more than one hundred years ago to represent and protect the professional interests of members of these medical specialties in the Philadelphia area. The Society has over four hundred members who practice obstetrics and gynecology in the Greater Delaware Valley, including Philadelphia, eastern Pennsylvania, Delaware and southern New Jersey.

 Defendant F. Emmett Fitzpatrick, Jr., is the District Attorney of Philadelphia County, and he is sued in his official capacity. In his official capacity defendant Fitzpatrick is responsible for the enforcement in Philadelphia of the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, including the Abortion Control Act.

 Defendant Frank S. Beal is the Secretary of Welfare of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and he is sued in his official capacity. In his official capacity defendant Beal is responsible for the conduct of the Commonwealth's Medical Assistance program, including implementing the restrictions imposed upon that program by the Abortion Control Act.

 Intervening defendant Robert P. Kane is the Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and he is sued in his official capacity. In his official capacity intervening defendant Kane is the legal advisor of the Governor and the chief law officer of the Commonwealth.

 For the reasons hereinafter stated, this Court holds that the following challenged sections of the Abortion Control Act and the related criminal sanctions are unconstitutional: the definition of "viable" found in Section 2; the spousal consent requirement found in Section 3(b)(i); the parental consent requirement found in Section 3(b)(ii); the determination of viability requirement found in Section 5(a); the performance of an abortion requirements found in Section 6(b); part of the reporting requirements found in Section 6(d); the prohibition of advertising requirement found in Section 6(f); and finally, the subsidizing of an abortion requirement found in Section 7. And for the reasons hereinafter stated, we hold that the following challenged sections of the Act and the related criminal sanctions are constitutional: the definition of "informed consent" found in Section 2; the informed consent requirement found in Section 3(a); the disposition of dead fetuses requirement found in Section 5(c); the determination of pregnancy requirement found in Section 6(a); the facility approval requirement found in Section 6(c); part of the reporting requirements found in Section 6(d); and finally, the Health Department regulation requirements found in Section 8.

 I. Justiciability

 The threshold question for consideration is the justiciability of the instant litigation. The state challenges plaintiffs' standing to contest the validity of the challenged statute in this case which lacks, as a party, a pregnant woman who has been denied an abortion. Initially the state contends that the plaintiff-physicians have no standing to bring this action. Standing, of course, entails

 
. . . such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions. Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186, at 204, 82 S. Ct. 691, at 703, 7 L. Ed. 2d 663 (1962).

 The state defendants appear to have overlooked the Supreme Court's treatment of a physician's standing in Roe, wherein the Court stated at 410 U.S. 179, 93 S. Ct. 739, 35 L. Ed. 2d 201:

 
We conclude, however, that the physician-appellants, who are Georgia-licensed doctors consulted by pregnant women, also present a justiciable controversy and do have standing despite the fact that the record does not disclose that any one of them has been prosecuted, or threatened with prosecution, for violation of the State's abortion statutes. The physician is the one against whom these criminal statutes directly operate in the event he procures an abortion that does not meet the statutory exceptions and conditions. The physician-appellants, therefore, assert a sufficiently direct threat of personal detriment. They should not be required to await and undergo a criminal prosecution as the sole means of seeking relief. [Citations omitted.]

 We hold that the plaintiff-physicians in the case, sub judice, are not required to risk becoming defendants in criminal prosecutions since they have standing under the rationale of Roe.

 The state also contends that the plaintiff-referral agencies (i.e. Planned Parenthood Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania; Concern for Health Options: Information, Care and Education, Inc.; and Clergy Consultation Service of Northeastern Pennsylvania) have no standing to bring this action. Few would dispute that a referral agency actually threatened with prosecution as a counselor-conspirator or accessory in violation of the Abortion Control Act would have standing to seek a declaratory judgment of the constitutionality of the statute. Cf., Doe, supra, 410 U.S. at 189, 93 S. Ct. at 746. However, absent such threatened prosecution, it is more difficult to find that these plaintiffs do have standing. "The sole issue is whether there is a logical link between the status they assert . . . and the claim they seek adjudicated, or between their status and both the type of enactment attacked and the nature of the constitutional infringement alleged." Doe v. Bolton, 319 F. Supp. 1048, at 1052 (N.D. Ga. 1970). As referral agencies, plaintiffs attack a criminal statute potentially applicable to them that would subject them to significant criminal penalties; accordingly, we hold they have standing.

 Standing is one aspect of justiciability. However, Article III of the United States Constitution limits the jurisdiction of the federal courts to "cases and controversies". It is well established that in actions for declaratory judgments, there must be "exigent adversity"; i.e., an actual controversy in which the constitutionality of the statute is drawn into question in a truly adversary context. See, e.g., Golden v. Zwickler, 394 U.S. 103, 89 S. Ct. 956, 22 L. Ed. 2d 113 (1969).

 Looking at the evidence of record presently before us, it is clear that the physicians, both individually and as a class, have established a concrete adverseness; for they are the ones whom the Abortion Control Act would directly penalize. However, the plaintiff-referral agencies have presented no evidence to support their contention that they may be prosecuted as counsel-conspirators or accessories, and this Court finds, after reading the Act and noting the barren state of the record, that such a conclusion could only be reached as a matter of pure speculation or conjecture on our part. Consequently, we hold that the claims of the plaintiff-physicians in this case present a justiciable controversy, while the claims of the plaintiff-referral agencies do not. Accordingly, we dismiss as to the referral agencies.

 II. Analysis of Roe and Doe

 The landmark decisions in the abortion area, which of necessity we must follow in a resolution of the case presently before us, are Roe v. Wade, supra, and Doe v. Bolton, supra.

 Accordingly, we apply the mandate of the Supreme Court to the legislation presently before us. Part of that mandate appears at the end of the opinion in Roe, supra, 410 U.S. at 164-66, 93 S. Ct. at 732-33, where Mr. Justice Blackmun stated:

 
To summarize and to repeat:
 
(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.
 
(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.
 
(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.
 
2. The State may define the term "physician " as it has been employed in the preceding paragraphs of this Part XI of this opinion, to mean only a physician currently licensed by the State, and may proscribe any abortion by a person who is not a physician as so defined.
 
In Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 93 S. Ct. 739, 35 L. Ed. 2d 201, procedural requirements contained in one of the modern abortion statutes are considered. That opinion and this one, of course, are to be read together. . . .
 
[This] decision leaves the State free to place increasing restrictions on abortion as the period of pregnancy lengthens, so long as those restrictions are tailored to the recognized state interests. The decision vindicates the right of the physician to administer medical treatment according to his professional judgment up to the points where important state interests provide compelling justifications for intervention. Up to those points, the abortion decision in all its aspects is inherently, and primarily, a medical decision, and basic responsibility for it must rest with the physician. If an individual practitioner abuses the privilege of exercising proper medical judgment, the usual remedies, judicial and intra-professional, are available.

 The language of the Roe decision clearly indicates that the Supreme Court reached its decision by making the following determinations: 1) there is a fundamental right to privacy; 2) this right encompasses the pregnant woman's decision to have an abortion; 3) being a fundamental right, the right to an abortion can be limited only by a compelling state interest; 4) the state has a compelling interest in the mother's health which arises approximately at the end of the first trimester of pregnancy; and 5) the state has a compelling interest in the life of the fetus when it becomes viable.

 As the Supreme Court stated in its Roe decision, Roe should be read in conjunction with Doe v. Bolton. Thus in Doe the Court invalidated in part a more modern Georgia abortion statute because: 1) with respect to certain statutorily imposed requirements, the challenged statute failed to exclude the first trimester of pregnancy; 2) with respect to certain other statutorily imposed requirements, the state failed to prove that the statutory restriction was rationally connected to the objective the state sought to accomplish; and 3) with respect to other provisions, the statutorily imposed overview caused the abortion procedure to be regulated more strictly than any other medical or surgical procedure.

 III. Burden of Proof

 
Where certain "fundamental rights" are involved, . . . [regulations] limiting these rights may be justified only by a "compelling state interest," . . . and . . . [these] legislative enactments must be narrowly drawn to express only the legitimate state interests at stake. . . . [Citations omitted.]

 We hold that the burden is on the defendants to show: 1) that there exists a legitimate state interest requiring a legislative enactment, 2) the point at which this legitimate state interest becomes compelling, and 3) that the legislative enactment is narrowly drawn to express only the legitimate state interest in question.

 IV. Severability

 Plaintiffs contend that the Abortion Control Act "is unconstitutional on its face and in its entirety on the ground that the legislative intent to unconstitutionally limit, deter, and regulate the abortion decision which is expressed in its title, language, and various provisions, vitiates the statute as a whole." Defendants argue: 1) the Act is constitutional, or in the alternative, 2) if any section is unconstitutional the statute's severability clause evidences an express legislative intent that this Court must heed. *fn4" Clearly the effect of the sections herein declared unconstitutional is to improperly restrict the exercise of the fundamental right of the pregnant woman, in consultation with her physician, to make the abortion decision at points in time when the state has not demonstrated a compelling interest justifying statutory regulation. We have examined each section of the Act and we have determined, notwithstanding the fact that a number of sections are unconstitutional, that the invalid sections are severable and the Act is not unconstitutional in its entirety. Therefore, we now turn to a section-by-section examination of the Act.

 V. Consent to Abortion

 Spousal and Parental Consent

 Plaintiffs contend "the parental and spousal consent provisions of the Act and the criminal provision associated therewith are unconstitutional and invalid infringements of their rights to privacy. . . ." Defendant Fitzpatrick concedes that Sections 3(b)(i), 3(b)(ii), and 3(e) to the extent that it relates to 3(b), are unconstitutional. However, the state defendants contend the parental and spousal consent provisions are constitutional and evidence the state's legitimate interest in protecting "the long-established inherent rights of spouses and parents concerning the familial unit and child welfare." The challenged provisions are as follows:

 
Section 3. Consent to Abortion:
 
Limitations on Public Officials.
 
. . .
 
(b) No abortion shall be performed upon any person in the absence of the written consent of (i) the spouse of such person provided that the whereabouts of such spouse can be learned from such person or from other readily available sources and he can be notified and that the abortion is not certified by a licensed physician to be necessary in order to preserve the life or health of the mother, (ii) one parent or person in loco parentis of such person if such person is under eighteen years of age and unmarried, unless the abortion is certified by a licensed physician as necessary in order to preserve the life of the mother.
 
. . .
 
(e) whoever performs an abortion and without consent as required in subsections (a) and (b) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. . . .

 We find the spousal consent provision of the Act an unconstitutional infringement of a pregnant woman's fundamental right of privacy. Initially, we note that the Supreme Court did not rule directly upon the issues of spousal or parental consent in either Roe or Doe. Thus in Roe, supra, 410 U.S. at 165, 93 S. Ct. at 733, the Court states in a footnote:

 
Neither in this opinion nor in Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 93 S. Ct. 739, 35 L. Ed. 2d 201, do we discuss the father's rights, if any exist in the constitutional context, in the abortion decision. No paternal right has been asserted in either of the cases, and the Texas and the Georgia statutes on their face take no cognizance of the father. We are aware that some statutes recognize the father under certain circumstances. North Carolina, for example, N. C. Gen. Stat. § 14-45.1 (Supp. 1971), requires written permission for the abortion from the husband when the woman is a married minor, that is, when she is less than 18 years of age, 41 N.C.A.G. 489 (1971); if the woman is an unmarried minor, written permission from the parents is required. We need not now decide whether provisions of this kind are constitutional.

 Though Roe and Doe do not directly decide the issues of spousal and parental consent, this Court concludes that of necessity these decisions by implication provide the backdrop against which these interests must be viewed. The Supreme Court's analysis in Roe clearly states that a woman has a qualified, though not absolute, right to decide to have an abortion. The woman's decision is qualified to the extent that there must be a balancing of her fundamental right of privacy with other important and legitimate interests at specified compelling points. Thus, in Roe, supra, 410 U.S. at 162-63, 93 S. Ct. at 731, the Court states:

 
In view of all this, we do not agree that, by adopting one theory of life, Texas may override the rights of the pregnant woman that are at stake. We repeat, however, that the State does have an important and legitimate interest in preserving and protecting the health of the pregnant woman, whether she be a resident of the State or a nonresident who seeks medical consultation and treatment there, and that it has still another important and legitimate interest in protecting the potentiality of human life. These interests are separate and distinct. Each grows in substantiality as the woman approaches term and, at a point during pregnancy, each becomes "compelling."

 It is imperative, therefore, that any state regulation in the field of abortion both take cognizance of the woman's fundamental right and draw the proper balance between a legitimate state interest and the pregnant woman's interest. The challenged spousal consent provision of the Abortion Control Act is invalid because it does not balance the interest of the pregnant woman with the purported interest, if there is a constitutional one, of the husband; but rather the provision gives the spouse an unqualified and unconditional veto over the wife's decision to have an abortion, thus completely ignoring the fundamental right of the pregnant woman to make the abortion decision.

 A number of other courts have come to the same conclusion and have invalidated statutorily imposed spousal consent provisions. Cf., Doe v. Doe, Mass., 365 Mass. 556, 314 N.E. 2d 128 (1974); Jones v. Smith, 278 So. 2d 339 (Fla. Ct. App. 1973), cert. den., 415 U.S. 958, 39 L. Ed. 2d 573, 94 S. Ct. 1486 (1974); Coe v. Gerstein, 376 F. Supp. 695 (S.D. Fla. 1973), app. dism. and cert. den., 417 U.S. 279, 94 S. Ct. 2246, 41 L. Ed. 2d 68 (1974); Doe v. Rampton, 366 F. Supp. 189 (C.D. Utah 1973); Doe v. Bellin Memorial Hospital, 479 F.2d 756 (7th Cir. 1973); also see annotation at 62 ALR 3d 1097. We are aware of only one case wherein a spousal consent provision has not been invalidated, however the Supreme Court has stayed enforcement of that particular statute. See, Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, 392 F. Supp. 1362 (E.D. Mo. 1975), stay grtd., 420 U.S. 918, 95 S. Ct. 1111, 43 L. Ed. 2d 389 (1975).

 The spousal consent provision of the Act mandates that a pregnant woman's spouse take the affirmative step of giving his consent before an abortion may be performed. We find this provision, requiring affirmative action, is not narrowly tailored to meet a legitimate interest of either the spouse or the state. Even if this Court were to find that the asserted interests of the husband were protected by the Constitution, we would still have to take cognizance of the Supreme Court's pronouncement in Roe, that the husband's pregnant spouse has a fundamental right to decide to have an abortion, which prior to the second trimester must be "free of interference by the State." Roe, supra, 410 U.S. at 164, 93 S. Ct. at 732. We need not decide here whether the husband's interest in the abortion decision is in fact protected by the Constitution. The Supreme Court has determined that the wife's interest in the abortion decision is a fundamental right. Nevertheless, the statute before us requires, in every case, that the wife obtain the consent of her spouse for an abortion; consent is required even if the spouse asserts no interest in the wife or the family, or no paternal interest in the potential child. At least one of the state defendants' witnesses has testified that though it is oft times beneficial for the marital relationship for the husband to be informed and consulted with respect to the abortion decision, nevertheless, he should not be given absolute veto power over the wife's decision. ...


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