New Hampshire Governor, Atty General Differ on Abortion Case

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Governor, Atty General Differ on Abortion Case Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
June 1, 2005

Concord, NH ( — The Supreme Court has agreed to hear its first abortion case in five years, but New Hampshire’s governor and attorney general disagree on the statute in question. The case concerns a law requiring abortion businesses to notify parents when their minor teenage daughters are considering an abortion.

A federal appeals court agree with abortion advocates and overturned the law, but state Attorney General Kelly Ayotte has filed an appeal and the Supreme Court will hear it during its next term, which begins in October.

However, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a pro-abortion Democrat, disagrees with the statute.

In most states, the attorney general is selected by state voters, but no so in New Hampshire where the governor appoints the position.

Lynch is considering whether or not to keep Ayotte, appointed by former Republican Gov Craig Benson, on the post and the abortion case could be the dealbreaker.

Ayotte, the first woman to hold the position, may end up arguing the abortion case in the Supreme Court and she told the Associated Press she briefed Lynch’s staff on the case and knew he disagreed with the notification law.

"I was aware the governor disagreed with the underlying policy," she said.

Lynch spokeswoman Pam Walsh told AP that the governor will "look at her whole record" when evaluating her position.

"This is not something that is going to disqualify her from renomination. He’s going to look for the best person to run the best law office in the state. Kelly Ayotte will be one of the candidates he considers," she said.

Ayotte has received significant support, including from a leading state newspaper.

"While we generally believe it is good for a governor to have an attorney general who shares his values, Ayotte has shown that she will put the state’s interests above those of any politician or political party and above her own," the New Hampshire Union Leader wrote in an editorial. "When you have an attorney general like that, you keep her."

Despite the case, NARAL’s New Hampshire affiliate is not calling for Ayotte to be replaced.

"We’ve expressed our concern over her appeal," said Liza Dube, the group’s political director. "We haven’t tried to politicize this."

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.

Related web sites:
New Hampshire Citizens for Life –
New Hampshire Attorney General –