Ayotte decision on parental notification has limitations, say US bishops


The Supreme Court’s 9-0 decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England regarding New Hampshire’s parental notification law leaves parents and legislators with “more question that answers,” said a spokesperson for the U.S. bishops’ pro-life office.

“The lower court, appropriately, was told it should not have preemptively invalidated an entire abortion regulation on the basis of a potentially unconstitutional application to a small number of hypothetical cases,” said Deirdre McQuade, director of planning and information for the Pro-Life Secretariat.

“We welcome this development and hope it will end the disposition of lower courts to enjoin the enforcement of reasonable, commonsense abortion regulations for years while challenges are appealed,” she said in an official statement.

But the Court did not address the legal questions regarding to the so-called health exception first established 33 years ago in Doe v. Bolton, McQuade said.

“This case concerns the validity of a New Hampshire law that lets parents participate in life-shaping decisions of their children. That law reflects the common sense principle that caring parents know best what their children need,” she said.

“But neither the lower courts nor state legislatures have been given the guidance necessary to address these issues. And that is unfortunate.”

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