Did you know that pro-choice lawmakers in New Hampshire repealed a law that endangers women's health?
In 2003, the New Hampshire legislature passed a bill requiring parental notification before a young woman could have an abortion. It was signed into law by then-Governor Craig Benson. Reproductive rights groups filed a federal lawsuit against the law in November 2003, since among other things it lacked an exception to protect women's health.
Lower courts declared the law unconstitutional and unenforceable. The U.S. Supreme Court accepted the case but chose not to rule on the constitutional questions at issue, instead returning the case to the lower courts to determine whether, in essence, the judge could redraft the law to include a health exception. To avoid requiring the judiciary to take on this legislative function, pro-choice legislators in New Hampshire successfully launched a bipartisan effort to repeal the flawed law.
In February 2007, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico, who first struck down the law, stayed the case in order to let the state legislature determine the fate of a bill to repeal the notification statute. In March 2007, the state legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of repeal. On June 29, 2007, Governor John Lynch signed the bill into law. The governor explained: "I strongly believe parents should be involved in these decisions, providing important support and guidance. Unfortunately, that is not possible in every case.”
Norma Love, New Hampshire Repeals Parental Notice of Abortion, Assoc. Press, June 29, 2007.