Supreme Court Will Review Parental Notification Law on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 23, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Will Review Parental Notification Law on Abortion Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
May 23, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a New Hampshire case about whether abortion facilities should notify parents when their minor teenager daughters are considering having an abortion. The nation’s high court has previously upheld such laws.

In February, the New Hampshire Attorney General asked the court to review a 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling striking down the state’s parental notification on abortion law.

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 said he wants the Supreme Court to tell the lower federal judges 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.

Mullen argues that a judicial bypass provision in the bill satisfies the need for an exception in cases of a medical emergency and that a health exception is not needed.

The Supreme Court will hear the case when it begins its next term in October.

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 American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), said today the Supreme Court of the United States has an important opportunity to ensure that parents remain informed about the health of their children — especially when it comes to getting an abortion.

"This is a critical area of the law that needs to be corrected," said Jay Sekulow, the pro-life law firm’s chief counsel.

"It is the parents who have a responsibility to be directly involved in decisions involving the health and well-being of their children," Sekulow explained. "To permit minors to get abortions without parents being notified is not only legally flawed, but bad public policy."

The ACLJ will file an amicus brief at the Supreme Court in support of the state’s effort to enforce the law.

The New Hampshire 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.

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

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, an affiliate of the nation’s largest abortion business, filed a lawsuit against the measure. The case is Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood, 04-1144.

Earlier this year, the high court declined to hear a challenge to Roe v. Wade brought by former plaintiff Norma McCorvey. It also did not hear a case to reinstate an Idaho law requiring girls under 18 to obtain consent from their parents for an abortion.

Related web sites:
American Center for Law and Justice –
New Hampshire Citizens for Life –
New Hampshire Attorney General –