by Steven Ertelt
September 19, 2007
Concord, NH (LifeNews.com) — Two lawmakers are attempting to revive a parental notification law on abortion in New Hampshire after the state legislature took the old one off the books in the last session. Legislators scrapped the law even though the Supreme Court ruled it could be enforced in part and its unconstitutional sections thrown out.
The notification statute, originally passed by the legislature in 2003, had never been enforced.
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.
In July, Governor John Lynch signed a bill that officially repealed New Hampshire’s parental notification law that allowed parents to know when their teenager daughters were considering an abortion.
Now, Raymond Senator Jack Barnes and New Hampton Representative Fran Wendelboe want to bring back the law. They don’t have specific language yet but they tell AP that it will be an improved version that keeps the rulings of the courts in mind.
They intend to request a 48 hour window whereby abortion facilities must notify the parents of a minor teenager that their daughter wants an abortion.
The bill will include a court-required judicial waiver option for teenagers who come from abusive homes to bypass the law.
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.
Wendelboe said her bill will include such language.
Pro-life groups say leaving parents out of the process when their children face serious health concerns makes little sense.
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.
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 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