New Hampshire Lawmakers Will Let Courts Resolve Abortion Law Specs

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 20, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Lawmakers Will Let Courts Resolve Abortion Law Specs Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 20, 2006

Concord, NH ( — New Hampshire lawmakers appear to not be interested in resolving the problems the Supreme Court said a federal appeals court should fix in order to allow its parental notification law to stay on the books.

This week, the high court hear a challenge by abortion businesses seeking to overturn the law. The Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the appeals court was wrong to have overturned the entire law, saying it could simply declare which applications are constitution and uphold those.

Rep. Liz Hagar, a pro-abortion Republican who opposed the law, said she read the high court’s decision and has no intention of proposing a health exception or other changes to the law.

She told the Concord Monitor newspaper that "a legislative strategy certainly did not come into my head."

Both sides told the Monitor they think getting what they want is best found in the appeals court and not the legislature. Pro-life lawmakers are concerned that rejecting a health exception will only get the law shot down again.

"This is a different makeup in the State House now and a different governor," pro-life Rep. Fran Wendelboe added. "I think we see what the lower court says and take action from there."

Pro-abortion lawmakers could try to repeal the entire law. They have enough votes in the state House and the backing of pro-abortion Gov. John Lynch, but they can only get 10 or 11 of the needed 13 votes in the state Senate.

Pro-abortion groups understand that scenario and are prepared to wait, they told the Monitor.

"Planned Parenthood at this point isn’t trying to spearhead any legislative effort," said Dawn Touzin of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. "I don’t think there has been enough change in the Legislature."

Wendelboe thinks that no matter what happens in the legislature or appeals court, the law will go back to the Supreme Court.

"This is going to end up back at the Supreme Court," she told the Monitor. "Whatever the court does, it will end up back there."