New Hampshire Parental Consent Law Target of Pro-Abortion Lawsuit

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 17, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Parental Notification Law Target of Pro-Abortion Lawsuit

by Maria Gallagher Staff Writer
November 17, 2003

Concord, NH ( — Pro-abortion groups have filed suit in an effort to block a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification for abortions on minors.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the American Civil Liberties Union, several abortion centers, and an abortion practitioner are fighting the bill on the grounds that the legislation does not contain a health exception.

But Roger Stenson, Executive Director of New Hampshire Citizens for Life, says that the bill contains a life of the mother exception and that a health exception is unneeded and would gut the intent of the bill.

“The New Hampshire law has a medical emergency provision to prevent the girl’s death. If a girl’s death is threatened and imminent, notification of either of her parents is excepted,” Stenson said.

As for the contention from the pro-abortion lobby that the law should contain a health exception as well, Stenson said, “Opponents of parental involvement laws say they need a health exception for, say, protecting the future fertility of the pregnant girl. Right then and there? They want to abort the girl that minute? Without her parent’s involvement? Our answer is, ‘Call the parents.’”

Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups contend that supporters of
parental notification believe they have better knowledge about the best interests of young women than the women themselves do.

"We absolutely know that a girl’s parents know more about their child’s best interests, especially in making life and death surgical decisions," Stenson said. "Abortionists want to hurry up the invasive surgery of abortion, abruptly violating the manifest fertility of a minor, in order to protect her future fertility. This fails the straight-face test as abysmally as referring to vulnerable minor girls as young women.”

Pro-abortion groups counter that the parental notice law is flawed because it violates a woman’s right to privacy. But pro-life leaders maintain that the law is necessary to protect the interests of young women who can easily be taken advantage of by the abortion industry.

“We have said throughout the campaign to pass a parental notice that secret abortion on minors is child abuse,” Stenson said. “It is our opinion that opponents of parental notice are protecting child abusers who want young girls alone and vulnerable to make an earthquake of a decision in a vacuum with strangers. This is when a girl needs her parents most.”

The pro-abortion groups are trying to stop the law from taking effect on December 31. Under the law, abortionists most notify a parent at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on a minor. The notification can be avoided if a judge rules the teen is capable of making the decision on her own.

The parental notice law, which was signed by the governor in June, is the first pro-life law in the state of New Hampshire since Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.

Following the bill-signing, Governor Craig Benson said, “We are giving parents their rights back. I can’t think of a better gift that we can give to the parents in the state of New Hampshire than allowing them to participate in their children’s lives. As the father of two daughters, I know parents need to be involved in a decision that could have severe long-term mental and physical consequences for their children."

Public opinion polls show that an overwhelming majority of New Hampshire residents support parental notice.

Related web sites:
New Hampshire Citizens for Life –