Attorney Who Argued Parental Notification Abortion Case Expects Victory

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Dec 1, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Attorney Who Argued Parental Notification Abortion Case Expects Victory Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
December 1, 2005

Washington, DC ( — New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte says she expects the Supreme Court to largely side with her in upholding most or all of New Hampshire’s parental notification law after hearings yesterday.

Ayotte told the San Francisco Chronicle that her read of the reaction to the hearings from the high court judges was that they favor keeping the notification requirement in place if it can be worked out to make sure girls in emergency health situations are protected.

"Our position today was that our law can be applied in a way to accommodate that rare situation if it does arise in a medical emergency, and that has been our position from day one," Ayotte said.

"What (the court) got in this case was an invalidation of our law, based upon one potential application," she explained. "From the questions that the court asked today, that was really too much."

New Chief Justice John Roberts summarized what several of the members of the court said in comments or questions in a question to Planned Parenthood attorney Jennifer Dalven.

"The problem arises only in an emergency situation," Roberts said. "The vast majority of cases don’t involve an emergency situation. Why challenge the act as a whole when the objection is so narrow?"

In arguing the case, Ayotte told the Boston Globe she stopped being nervous as soon as the debate began.

"I felt nervous just as I’m sure anyone who has appeared before the court and particularly given it was my first time," she explained. "But once you open your mouth and they ask the first question, that all sort of melts away because you’re so focused on the case."

Ayotte told the Globe she wasn’t surprised by the tough questions from abortion advocates on the court.

"Most of the time flew by because it was spent answering the justices’ questions and they were in rapid succession," she said.

She told the Boston newspaper she wouldn’t give her personal views on the New Hampshire pro-life law because it would be fodder for one side or the other to condemn her handling of the case.

Ayotte said one potential ruling from the Supreme Court would be to allow the state to enforce the law with the exception of emergency medical situations. The court could say the law wouldn’t be in effect in the context of the rare case where a medical emergency arises and a physician is unable to obtain a timely judicial bypass."

That would mean parents would be able to be notified about their daughter’s potential abortion in most cases.