by Steven Ertelt
August 2, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading pro-life law firm has submitted a legal brief supporting a New Hampshire law requiring abortion businesses to involve parents when their minor teenager daughter is considering an abortion. The high court will consider a lawsuit seeking to overturn the law when it begins its new term in October.
The Rutherford Institute filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in the case of Kelly Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and asks the high court to uphold the constitutionality of a New Hampshire law that requires parents to be notified of their minor child’s intent to have an abortion.
The law firm says it is important for parents to be able to be involved in the major medical decisions of their child.
"If minors require parental consent in order to have their bodies pierced, tattooed, or tanned, why shouldn’t their parents be notified about something as life-changing as abortion," asked John Whitehead, Rutherford’s president.
"This case presents the Supreme Court with an extraordinary opportunity to apply principles of law that acknowledge the rights reserved to states and the people to protect minors," he added.
Planned Parenthood of New England filed a lawsuit in November 2003 challenging the New Hampshire law, which says parents must be told about the potential abortion 48 hours in advance.
The abortion business contends the law should have a health exception for cases when a teenager supposedly needs an abortion for health reasons. The 1st Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, even though a judicial bypass provision exists for such cases and abuse situations.
In asking the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court ruling, Rutherford Institute attorneys point out that an overwhelming principle of American law is that minors cannot consent to or participate in most medically or socially significant activities without parental input or guidance.
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.
Some 33 states require parents to be notified or give their consent for a minor teen to have an abortion.