by Steven Ertelt
July 3, 2007
Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — Governor John Lynch signed a bill on Friday that officially repealed New Hampshire’s parental notification law that allowed parents to know when their teenager daughters were considering an abortion. His signature paves the way for the legislature to substitute it with a significantly weaker version.
The notification statue, originally passed by the legislature in 2003, has never been enforced and went all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld it in part.
Earlier decisions by lower courts found the law unconstitutional but the high court ruled that parts of the law that should be voided could be taken out and the rest of the law could remain intact.
But abortion advocates wanted to take the measure off the books entirely and replace it with one that essentially keeps parents in the dark about their daughter’s abortion decision. They got a bill through the legislature to do that and had Governor Lynch’s support all along.
"I strongly believe parents should be involved in these decisions, providing important support and guidance. Unfortunately that is not possible in every case," Lynch claimed in a statement accompanying his signature of the repealer.
The key objection Lynch and abortion advocates had with the notification law was its lack of a health exception, saying parents shouldn’t be told when their daughter supposedly needs an abortion in a problematic health situation.
Pro-life groups say leaving parents out of the process when their children face serious health concerns makes little sense.
Dawn Touzin of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, told AP that New Hampshire is the first state to repeal a parental notification law.
More than half of states have notification or consent laws and they have been credited by reducing the number of abortions done on teens by one-third or more.
State Rep. Fran Wendelboe fought to keep the law on the books but her measures to simply change the law to conform with the court’s decision were defeated.
She told AP she may come back next session or after the 2008 elections and try to pass a new law.
She said the state protects teens in other situations and should protect them when it comes to abortion.
"You can’t get a tattoo, or get your ears pierced, you can’t smoke, you can’t ride a bicycle under 16 without a helmet because the state knows better," she said.
Pro-life advocates have been disappointed by the votes and New Hampshire Citizens for Life president Roger Stenson told LifeNews.com, “Parents have a primordial right to protect and counsel their children. Children have the right to their parents’ involvement in their lives."
He said the legislators who voted to get rid of the involvement law "trampled on every family in our state."
He said the vote would encourage secret abortions on minors with people who sexually abuse them taking them for abortions without their parents knowing.
Related web sites:
New Hampshire legislature – https://www.gencourt.state.nh.us