New Hampshire to Consider Parental Notification on Abortion

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 14, 2011   |   12:38PM   |   Concord, NH

The New Hampshire legislature will once again consider legislation to allow parents to know when their minor daughters are considering an abortion — a topic that has reached the Supreme Court.

Republicans, who enjoy a majority control of the state House, announced their legislative agenda yesterday and it included legislation helping parents not be in the dark when their daughters are contemplating an abortion. Without such a law in place, parents would have to pick up the pieces after their daughter has an abortion and potentially be required to pay for medical bills related to problems afterwards without knowing about the abortion in the first place.

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously upheld states’ rights to require parental involvement in 2006 when it held hearings on a New Hampshire law that abortion advocates took to the high court in a legal challenge after it became state law.

“States unquestionably have the right to require parental involvement when a minor considers terminating her pregnancy,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote.

But, in 2007, Governor John Lynch signed a bill that officially repealed New Hampshire’s parental notification law. The notification statue, 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.

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, even though research shows abortions cause mental health problems for women.

Local pro-abortion groups are urging opposition to a new measure.

“We all know that the people of New Hampshire did not vote for an agenda attacking a woman’s right to choose,” said Pilar Olivo, executive director of NARAL New Hampshire, according to the Concord Monitor.

With 400 House members, including 300 Republican lawmakers, other bills on abortion issues could come up as well.