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Abstract

This note, which analyzes the central role of women's health in the debate over the limits of abortion rights, explores the implications of the Supreme Court's decision in Stenberg v. Carhart to invalidate a Nebraska statute banning partial birth abortion. Specifically, this note questions whether the Court's decision in Stenberg effectively requires that all future statutes banning partial birth abortion contain an exception for instances in which abortions are medically necessary to protect the health of the woman, and how such a requirement might be structured. The author answers the question in the affirmative, and argues that while broader exceptions would be preferable, courts are likely to uphold narrower ones as a result of changes in political leadership, the composition of the Supreme Court, advances in medicine, and other factors.

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