With all the discussion last week about the issue of judicial nominations, not enough attention was paid to the Supreme Courts granting review in a major abortion case. Last Monday, the Supreme Court issued an order granting review in a parental notification case concerning abortion out of the state of New Hampshire. This is the most significant abortion case the Court has taken in nearly five years. At issue is New Hampshires parental notification statute. This statute simply requires that parents be given notice of an abortion being performed on a minor child. The New Hampshire statute does not go so far as other states that actually require parental consent. Nevertheless, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit held that the parental notification statute was, in fact, unconstitutional.
In granting review, the Supreme Court has made the determination that the issue of parental notification raises significant constitutional questions. Specifically, the Court is going to address what legal standards should be applied in addressing any restrictions on abortion. What is interesting, however, is that this is not really an abortion restriction case as there is nothing in the statute that prohibits any abortion from taking place. Simply put, the statute, like those in 32 other states, only requires that notification be given to parents regarding abortions to be performed on their minor children.
Several years ago, we had a case out of Pennsylvania where a school district arranged for an abortion to take place on a minor child in New Jersey. The school district actually arranged for the funding and transportation of the minor child across state lines in order for the abortion to take place. Pennsylvania had a parental notification statute, and New Jersey did not. This case sparked a national outcry regarding parental notification statutes and resulted in legislation being adopted in 32 states.
We are also establishing today the formation of a Committee to Protect Life. This Committee will actually sign on to the brief that is filed at the Supreme Court of the United States. To find out how you can sign on to this important Committee and obtain a copy of our brief, please visit www.aclj.org. I have already assembled a senior research team to prepare the necessary legal documents. For updates on this and other cases, check out the www.aclj.org website.