Supreme Court Will Hold Hearings on Abortion Law Wednesday

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 26, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Supreme Court Will Hold Hearings on Abortion Law Wednesday Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 26, 2005

Washington, DC ( — The Supreme Court will hold hearings Wednesday on a New Hampshire parental notification law that abortion advocates took to court as soon as state lawmakers approved it. At issue is whether the law needs a health exception as abortion businesses claim is necessary to protect some teenagers.

Under the law, abortion practitioners would be required to tell the parents of a minor girl that she is considering an abortion 48 hours before it can be performed. That allows parents plenty of time to help their daughters make a better decision.

Parents must be notified in person or by certified mail to make sure the notification took place.

Backers of the law say abortions aren’t needed to protect a teen’s health, but they say a judicial bypass provision in the law is adequate to address such a situation. The U.S. Supreme Court has previously affirmed the constitutionality of parental involvement laws with a judicial bypass.

Abortion proponents say they don’t want judges making medical decisions for minors.

The case will be the first abortion case the high court has heard since overturning a Nebraska partial-birth abortion ban in 2000.

Retiring pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be on the court for the hearings, but could be gone by the time the high court votes.

If Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito is confirmed between the hearings and the vote, Chief Justice John Roberts could ask him to listen to taped arguments, read the legal papers and cast a vote. Roberts could also order new hearings to allow Alito to participate in the case from the beginning.

An August Quinnipiac University Polling Institute poll found 74 percent of the public favors requiring abortion businesses to notify parents before a minor girl can have an abortion. Just 21 percent of those polled oppose protecting teenagers.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will revisit the gruesome abortion procedure when it considers soon whether to take a case from federal appeals courts regarding the national ban on partial-birth abortions President Bush signed in 2003.

The high court will also consider a dispute between Oregon and the Bush administration. The president believes federal law gives his administration the right to prohibit the use of federally controlled drugs in assisted suicides since they don’t constitute a "legitimate medical purpose." Oregon, the site of the nation’s only law legalizing assisted suicide, disagrees.