New Hampshire Takes Abortion Notification Law to Supreme Court
by Steven Ertelt
February 26, 2005
Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — The New Hampshire Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court to review a lower court ruling striking down the state’s parental notification on abortion law. A federal appeals court issued a ruling in November saying the law was unconstitutional.
The appeals court backed a December 2003 district judge’s ruling saying the law lacked an exception for cases when there is a medical emergency.
Associate Attorney General Daniel Mullen told the Union Leader newspaper he was unsure whether the high court will take the case, even though it has previously upheld notification laws.
"Many are filed. Few are granted," he said of appeals to the Supreme Court.
Mullen said he wants the court to tell the lower federal judges that they should use a different process to review the constitutionality of the law, which is similar to ones in other states have been credited with reducing teen abortions by 30 percent.
He also said the filing asks the Supreme Court whether the health exception is necessary. Mullen argues that a judicial bypass provision satisfies the need for an exception in cases of a medical emergency.
Courts have upheld similar laws in other states and, in 1990, the Supreme Court upheld a Minnesota notification statute. That law has the same judicial bypass provision that is in the New Hampshire statute.
The law said that abortion practitioners had to notify a parent or guardian in person or by certified mail 48 hours prior to performing the abortion on the underage teenager.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England filed a lawsuit against the measure.
Pro-life groups say more should be done to address child abuse rather than authorizing abortions without notification.
Roger Stenson, director of New Hampshire Citizens for Life, said that "secret abortion on minors is child abuse."
"[T]he abortion industry in New Hampshire has elevated its desire for dead babies over the rights of every parent, the protection of all families, and especially the sacrosanctity of our vulnerable minor girls," Stenson