Copyright (c) 1993 Temple University of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education
Temple Law Review
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - Pennsylvania's Wrongful Birth Statute's Impact on Abortion Rights: State Action and Undue Burden - Edmonds v. Western Pennsylvania Hospital Radiology Assocs., 607 A.2d 1083 (Pa. Super. Ct. 1992).
66 Temp. L. Rev. 1087
Adam M. Silverman
"Liberty finds no refuge in a jurisprudence of doubt." 1 So begins the United States Supreme Court's opinion in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, 2 the Court's most recent attempt to put to rest the controversy surrounding state efforts to regulate abortion. In the two decades since the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Roe v. Wade, 3 many states have worked directly and indirectly to regulate abortion. State efforts to restrict abortion rights have taken a variety of forms. Some measures seek to control access to abortion through state imposed requirements such as mandatory waiting periods, spousal notification requirements, and fiscal controls forbidding the use of state funds for abortion services or counseling. 4 State laws that do not directly regulate access to abortion may still affect a woman's ability to choose abortion or to obtain abortion services. Pennsylvania's wrongful birth statute represents one example of this kind of indirect state abortion regulation.
Title 42, section 8305(a) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes Annotated eliminates a previously recognized common law cause of action for wrongful birth. 5 The wrongful birth cause of action had been available to parents claiming that but for the act or omission of the defendant, the mother would have aborted her pregnancy. 6 By eliminating wrongful birth claims, section 8305(a) allows medical care providers negligently or intentionally to misrepresent information to a pregnant woman regarding the health and status of her fetus without fear of tort liability. 7 Such misinformation ...
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