Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

From Privacy Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England
Case Title Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 U.S. 320 (2006)
Date
Appealed
Personal Information
Taxonomy
Link to Ruling
Country/Jurisdiction United States
State or Province
Regulatory Bodies
Decided Yes
Arbitrator Supreme Court of the United States
Related Laws New Hampshire Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act, Parental Notification Act

Short Summary

Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, 546 U.S. 320 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving a facial challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification abortion law. The First Circuit had ruled that the law was unconstitutional and an injunction against its enforcement was proper. The Supreme Court vacated this judgment and remanded the case, but avoided a substantive ruling on the challenged law or a reconsideration of prior Supreme Court abortion precedent.

Background

In this case, the issue is whether Planned Parenthood of Northern New England may challenge the constitutionality of the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act in federal court before it is put into effect and the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act, through the judicial bypass procedure or other safeguards, adequately protects the health of minors seeking abortions.

After New Hampshire's state legislature approved the Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act but before the act went into effect, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England challenged the law in federal district court. They claimed that the law, which requires that parents be notified before their minor daughter has an abortion, violated the "undue burden" test laid out in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 Supreme Court decision that reformulated the constitutional protections given to abortion in Roe v. Wade. Specifically, they argued that an exemption in the law for abortions necessary to prevent the death of the mother, but not for those abortions necessary to protect merely her health, was unconstitutionally narrow.

The federal district court agreed, rejecting the argument of New Hampshire's Attorney General that the judicial bypass procedure included in the law, in which a judge could approve an abortion without parental notification for a minor who showed she was mature enough to make the decision on her own, could be used to permit abortions necessary to protect the health of the mother. The judge also rejected New Hampshire's argument that the law could not be challenged until it had actually been implemented. A First Circuit Court of Appeals panel unanimously affirmed the decision.

Decision

In June, 2003, the New Hampshire Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act, "an act requiring parental notification before abortions may be performed on unemancipated minors," was narrowly passed by the New Hampshire General Court. It was signed into law on June 19, 2003 by Governor Craig Benson, who had lobbied heavily for the law, with an effective date of December 31, 2003.

In its ruling the Court found that the following three propositions were established:

1."States have the right to require parental involvement when a minor considers terminating her pregnancy."

2."A State may not restrict access to abortions that are 'necessary, in appropriate medical judgment for preservation of the life or health of the mother.' Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pa. v. Casey, 505 U. S. 833, 879 (plurality opinion)."

3."New Hampshire has not taken issue with the case’s factual basis: In a very small percentage of cases, pregnant minors need immediate abortions to avert serious and often irreversible damage to their health. New Hampshire has conceded that, under this Court’s cases, it would be unconstitutional to apply the Act in a manner that subjects minors to significant health risks."