A parent’s right to know

Our friend Charmaine Yoest was at the Supreme Court today for the oral argument in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood. Afterwards, she held forth before the press and then, we understand, appeared on Paula Zahn’s show.

The case concerns the constitutionality of a New Hampshire law that requires notification of parents prior to a young girl getting an abortion. As Charmaine explains, Planned Parenthood sued the state because the law doesn’t make an exception for the “health of the mother.” However, the law contains a “judicial bypass,” such that a young woman can make an appeal to a judge if she has a reason not to turn to her parents. The court of appeals struck down the law in its entirety.

I listened to a bit of the oral argument on the way home today. This account by Charles Lane in the Washington Post reflects pretty well what I heard. Neither New Hampshire nor the Bush administration is pushing hard for a broad ruling — instead they would be content with a narrow decision that sends the case back to the court of appeals for a ruling that, they hope, will preserve most of the notification law. Chief Justice Roberts seemed to be pushing for this result.


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