New Hampshire Abortion Law Maybe Affected by Supreme Court Change

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

New Hampshire Abortion Law Maybe Affected by Supreme Court Change Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 1, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The resignation of pro-abortion Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor will probably not affect the outcome of a high court decision this fall on a New Hampshire law requiring abortion businesses to tell parents when their teenager daughter is considering an abortion.

A federal appeals court struck down the law as unconstitutional and the Supreme Court, which has upheld similar provisions in other states, agreed to hear it this fall.

The Supreme Court set up the case law supporting parental notification laws in 1990 in the Ohio v. Akron Center for Reproductive Health case. That 6-3 decision upheld laws like New Hampshire’s requiring one parent to be notified about an abortion beforehand.

Justices Kennedy, Rehnquist, Stevens, and Scalia remain from the 1990 court that upheld the Ohio notification law. They are joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, a pro-life advocate who is expected to rule in favor of the New Hampshire law.

On the other side, Justices Ginsburg, Breyer and possibly Souter, none of whom were members of the court in 1990, would be likely to vote to overturn the New Hampshire law.

O’Connor voted in favor of the Ohio notification measure and, even if she was replaced by someone who opposes it, the Supreme Court would likely uphold the law on a 5-4 decision.

The 1st Circuit appeals court agreed with New Hampshire abortion advocates saying the law should have had a health exception allowing minors to have an abortion in cases of medical emergencies.

However, New Hampshire officials want the high 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.

Associate Attorney General Daniel 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.

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