Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Supreme Court To Hear First Abortion Case In 5 Yrs.

Wednesday the Supreme Court meets to hear it's first abortion case in five years. The topic will be the requirement that doctor's notify a pregnant teenager's parent before performing an abortion. This case raises 2 questions, one is how flexible a restriction on access to abortion must be when a woman's pregnancy poses a threat to her health. New Hampshire imposes a 48 hour waiting period after the required notice to at least one parent. Just like all states, it gives an exception for conditions that present an immediate threat to a pregnant teen's life. But of the 43 states with parental involvement statutes, New Hampshire is 1 of 5 that do not also give an exception for non-life threatening medical emergencies, and it was on that basis that 2 federal courts declared the law unconstitutional.
So the Supreme Court's decision on this case, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, may shed light on the shape of the health exception.
The second question, is the issue of under what circumstances federal courts can continue to bar the enforcement of abortion restrictions that have not yet gone into effect, and so can't be said to have injured any specific plantiff.
Also, waiting in the wings is another more highly charged abortion case. The Bush administration just filed an appeal in defense of the federal ban on the procedure labeled, " partial birth abortion", the court has to decide soon whether or not to hear it.
These are scary times for the reproductive rights of women in the United States. The Bush administration has already done plenty to deplete our rights, we must not allow their rosaries to effect our ovaries!