New Hampshire Parental Notification on Abortion Law Held Up in Court

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 3, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Parental Notification on Abortion Law Held Up in Court Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
October 3
, 2006

Concord, NH ( — A New Hampshire law requiring abortion practitioners to inform a minor girl’s parents she is considering an abortion before one can be done is still held up in courts. That’s despite a Supreme Court ruling in January asking lower courts to fix a problem in the law so it could go into effect.

After state lawmakers approved the measure in 2003, lower courts ruled that it lacked a health exception allowing teenagers to get an abortion without their parents knowledge in cases of health emergencies. They ruled the law unconstitutional.

The nation’s high court 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.

Responding to the decision at the time, lawmakers on both sides said they would rely on the courts to address the issue and not proposed a legislative solution. The law has been held up in courts since then, though opponents of the law have changed their mind on allowing the court’s to address the issue.

Backers of the parental notification proposal have been waiting on U.S. District Judge Joseph DiClerico to create the health bypass in the law but pro-abortion opponents of the measure want him to send it back to the state legislature so they can craft the exemption in their own language.

DiClerico’s decision could decide the fate of parental notification in the state because observers say the legislature may likely just reject the parental notification law outright given a change in its makeup.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion Democratic Gov. John Lynch has said he would veto a parental notification measure.

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

Both sides have submitted legal papers to Judge DiClerico, who isn’t expected to issue a ruling until mid-November.

Pro-abortion lawmakers could try to repeal the entire law and they appear to have enough votes in the House but not in the Senate.

Dawn Touzin of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, told the Concord Monitor newspaper previously that she thinks the law will end up back at the Supreme Court with one side or the other appealing DiClerico’s decision.

Pro-life advocates have said parents ought to be told about their daughter’s potential abortion especially when she has other major health issues that make an abortion practitioner think one is necessary.