Tuesday, August 09, 2005

White House Sides With N.H. on Abortion

White House Sides With N.H. on Abortion

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration jumped into the legal dispute over a New Hampshire abortion law Monday, arguing that the outcome could affect a final ruling on a federal abortion law that has been struck down by three courts.

In a legal brief filed with the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said New Hampshire's parental notification law for minors seeking abortion does not violate the Constitution, and urged justices to uphold it.

The court decided in May to review the 2003 New Hampshire law. An appeals court ruled it was unconstitutional because it didn't provide an exception to protect the minor's health in the event of a medical emergency.

The court's decision "may have direct relevance to the government's defense of the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act," Solicitor General Paul D. Clement wrote in a friend-of-the-court brief.

The law Congress passed and President Bush signed in 2003 also lacks an exception when the health of the mother is at risk. Judges in Lincoln, Neb., New York and San Francisco have overturned the law on that basis.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis has upheld the Nebraska ruling. The other decisions also have been appealed and are expected by many legal experts to eventually reach the Supreme Court.