The Supreme Court yesterday upheld another restriction on abortion: an Indiana law requiring abortions in the fourth through sixth months of pregnancy to be performed by doctors in hospitals.
The 6-to-3 ruling, affirming a lower court judgment, was issued without a written opinion or oral arguments from both sides. It was the second time in less than a month that the justices have sanctioned restrictions on abortions.
Last month, the court ruled that states could require unmarried minor women to notify their parents before obtaining an abortion. Following that opinion, dozens of state legislatures began considering legislation tailored to the Supreme Court opinion. The same is expected to follow yesterday's judgment.
The Indiana law, challenged by a Gary abortion clinic doctor and three women, allows clinic abortion during the first three months of pregnancy. During the second three months, the second trimester, a hospital abortion is required.
The landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion gave states greater leeway to regulate them in the second trimester, but before yesterday the court had not ruled on the hospital requirement. Such a requirement could cause special problems in areas where private hospitals refuse to perform abortions or where public hospitals are instructed by political officials not to perform abortions.
Justices William J. Brennan, Thurgood Marshall and Harry A. Blackmun said the court should hear full arguments before ruling in the Indiana case, Gary-Northwest Indiana Women vs. Orr.
In other action yesterday:
The court let stand Patricia Hearst's 1976 bank robbery conviction. Hearst appealed on the grounds that famed lawyer F. Lee Bailey inadequately represented her because he contracted for book rights on the trial. Hearst, now Patricia Hearst Shaw, was freed from prison in 1979 by President Carter.
The court agreed to review one of the many local-federal struggles growing out of the 1980 census. The court said it would consider whether the government must turn over census data, including addresses which it considers confidential, to local officials requiring the data in order to challenge the federal count.The case, Baldrige (the commerce secretary) vs. Shapiro (Peter Shapiro, Essex County, N.J., executive), will be decided next term.