by Steven Ertelt
January 18, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Pro-life groups applauded a unanimous ruling by the Supreme Court on Wednesday that an appeals court wrongly reversed a New Hampshire law allowing parents to be informed when their minor daughter is considering an abortion.
The high court ordered the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision reversing the law saying that in most cases it should be enforced.
Bioethics Defense Fund President and general counsel Nikolas Nikas participated in the legal team that prepared New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte for Supreme Court oral arguments.
"Today’s ruling is a great victory for both the fair judicial review of pro-life laws across the nation, and for New Hampshire parents who wish to protect their daughters from the significant health risks related to abortion," Nikas said in a statement provided to LifeNews.com.
Nikas explained that the Supreme Court’s ruling strikes down a double standard that allowed abortion advocates to say a pro-life law should be overturned if it was unconstitutional in even one instance in which is was intended to be applied.
"Today’s ruling rejects the abortion distortion, explaining that if there are both constitutional and unconstitutional applications of the law, the lower court should sever the unconstitutional application and uphold the remainder of the law," Nikas said.
Mary Spaulding Balch, state legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee said the decision "reaffirms that parents have a right to know and that girls have a right to have their parents involved — it is a victory for both parents and minor girls."
"There is no abortion procedure that can be performed so quickly that there is not enough time to make a short phone call to a minor girl’s parents," she explained.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, also hailed the decision.
"The Supreme Court got it right in determining that the appeals court went too far by declaring the parental notification law in New Hampshire unconstitutional," lead counsel Jay Sekulow said.
"While the ruling is very narrow in scope, the fact is that the New Hampshire parental notification law — and others like it — can survive a constitutional challenge," he added.
Polls consistently show that about 70 percent of Americans believe abortion facilities ought to be required to tell the parents of a teenager considering an abortion. A November 2005 Gallup poll had the figure at 69 percent.
Currently 28 states have some sort of parental involvement law in effect, whether it includes notification or consent before the abortion can take place. Such laws have proven effective in significantly reducing teen abortions.