A New Chink in Roe v. Wade

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: In a divided ruling that may stir up more dust than it was meant to, the Supreme Court has upheld Utah's 1991 anti-abortion law, considered the most restrictive in the country. The Utah law in question directly challenged the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision and made any abortions illegal after 20 weeks of pregnancy except for in three cases: if required to save the woman's life, to prevent "grave damage" to a woman's health and prevent the birth of a child with "grave defects." In a 5-4 vote Monday, the court said parts of the law could be enforced even if other sections were struck down as unconstitutional. The Justices, however, did not rule on the constitutionality of the provisions. TIME's Ann Donohoe reports that because this is a technical ruling, the law will be tried again in circuit court - this time on the constitutionality of its contents. Regardless, pro-choice advocates say the Supreme Court's ruling is likely to encourage state legislatures to further challenge federal abortion rulings. But Donohoe cautions: "So many states these days are acting independently with their own abortion laws. Utah decided this is what they think is right. This doesn't open the floodgates for other laws." -->