Carhart, Constitutional Rights, and the Psychology of Regret – Article by Chris Guthrie

From Volume 81, Number 5 (July 2008)

In Gonzales v. Carhart, the Supreme Court upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. In so doing, the Court used the prospect of regret to justify limiting choice. Relying on empirical evidence documenting the four ways in which regret actually operates, this Article argues that the Court’s analysis reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the psychology of regret. By exposing the Court’s misunderstanding of this emotion, this Article seeks to minimize the most significant risk posed by the Carhart decision: that states will use the prospect of regret to justify additional constraints not only on the abortion right but also on other rights protected by the Constitution.



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