Winter Count: Taking Stock of Abortion Rights after Casey and Carhart

42 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2006 Last revised: 26 Feb 2008


This Article examines Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Stenberg v. Carhart to assess the state of abortion rights today. A cursory look at Casey and Carhart might lead an observer to conclude that, although the Court has renounced key aspects of Roe's framework, the right to abortion remains well-protected under the Constitution. But such a conclusion would ignore the implications of the Court's decision in Casey and place too much hope in Carhart. Casey fundamentally changed the character of abortion rights in this country, reinventing it in a form more vulnerable to continued erosion. Carhart confirmed that extreme restrictions tantamount to a ban are unconstitutional under Casey, but short of this bottom line little of Roe's protections remain. While the right to abortion thus exists in theory, many women - particularly the most politically powerless - find the cumulative burdens impossible to overcome.

Keywords: abortion, women, partial-birth abortion, partial birth, webster, casey, stenberg, carhart, roe v. wade, undue burden, health exception, D&X, intact D&E, abortion procedure

JEL Classification: I00, I10, I18, I19, J16, K30, K32, K39, K40, K49

Suggested Citation

Borgmann, Caitlin E., Winter Count: Taking Stock of Abortion Rights after Casey and Carhart. Fordham Urban Law Journal, Vol. 31, p. 675, 2004, Available at SSRN:

Caitlin E. Borgmann (Contact Author)

CUNY School of Law ( email )

2 Court Square
Long Island City, NY 11101
United States
718-340-4503 (Phone)


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