New Hampshire Judge Waits on Legislature for Abortion Notification Decision

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Feb 1, 2007   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Hampshire Judge Waits on Legislature for Abortion Notification Decision Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
February 1
, 2007

Concord, NH ( — A federal judge has delayed making a final decision on the legality of New Hampshire’s parental notification on abortion law until the state legislature acts. Lawmakers have been considering a bill that would scrap the bill entirely because abortion advocates now have the numbers to take the pro-life law off the books.

The law requires abortion practitioners to notify the parents of a teenager seeking an abortion 48 hours before it can be done.

U.S. District Judge Joseph DiClerico originally ruled the law unconstitutional after the legislature approved it in 2003.

Last January, the Supreme Court asked lower courts to fix the problem so it could go into effect. 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 constitutional and uphold those.

But, Judge DiClerico has declined to issue a final ruling on the notification law "in deference to the Legislature."

"If House Bill 184 is enacted into law, this case will be rendered moot," DiClerico wrote, according to AP. "If it is not enacted into law, this case will proceed; if the parental notification law is amended, then the legal landscape of this case may well change."

Rep. Elizabeth Hager, a Republican, is sponsoring the bill to repeal the law and told the Associated Press she thinks it will pass.

"I’m pretty confident we have the votes to have this pass," she said. "I wouldn’t think he’d want to make any decisions while we’re discussing it where it should be discussed."

Attorney General Kelly Ayotte asked DiClerico in December to reject a request from abortion advocates who wanted the court him to throw out the law so the legislature could debate having one. Ayotte urged the judge to follow the Supreme Court’s ruling and leave in place the constitutional parts of the law.

Several abortion advocates including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the ACLU and two abortion businesses, filed suit against the law in November 2003.