by Steven Ertelt
January 18, 2006
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — When do pro-life advocates and abortion proponents both applaud a Supreme Court ruling on abortion? The answer appears to be when the high court doesn’t confirm a group’s worst fears by doing the opposite of what it hopes will happen.
When New Hampshire’s pro-life law allowing parental notification reached the high court, pro-life groups worried it would overturn the law. Abortion advocates worried the court would uphold the law.
The court did neither, though it came much closer to upholding the law.
On Wednesday, in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court told a federal appeals court that struck down the law to re-examine its decision and allow the portions of the law which are constitutional to be implemented.
Pro-life groups hailed the decision saying it proves such laws can survive Supreme Court scrutiny but pro-abortion groups are applauding the decision as well because it will still allow girls who have health emergencies to obtain abortions.
Jennifer Dalven, an ACLU attorney who argued the case before the court said the decision "tells politicians that they cannot jeopardize women’s health when they pass abortion laws."
Planned Parenthood interim president Karen Pearl agreed.
"We are relieved that the Supreme Court left in place protections for women’s health and safety in abortion laws," she said.
Noting that the high court failed to do what it wanted, Pearl added: "We continue to believe that the law should be struck down by the lower court."
The Supreme Court said there is no reason to strike down the law in its entirety, but Dalven says there is a chance the lower court will do just that.
That’s because the high court asked the federal appeals court to determine whether New Hampshire lawmakers wanted an emergency medical health exception in the bill. If not, the Supreme Court said the law can be struck down.
"The New Hampshire legislature intentionally omitted a medical emergency exception when it passed this law," Dalven said. "We continue to believe that the lower court will recognize this and strike down the law in its entirety."
Which sides is ultimately happy may depend on the next ruling by the appeals court.