Parental notification: repeal vs. litigation

Jill Stanek is reporting that the Illinois Supreme Court today upheld an Illinois parental notification law passed in 1995. Yes, 1995. The plaintiffs may of course appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, if their apparently-deep pockets haven’t been emptied yet. It’s not a particularly strict law, but evidently even a whiff of parental notification is enough to justify eighteen years of litigation. Who paid for all that lawyering, anyway? Plaintiffs are listed as “The Hope Clinic for Women Ltd., et al.” I suspect the financing came from somewhere among the et al .

Does this mean anything for New Hampshire’s parental notification law? Not directly, of course. It’s interesting, however, that the Illinois law was apparently not repealed since 1995, which would have brought litigation to a halt. Pro-life elected officials make a difference, you see.

I speculated repeatedly last year that repeal of New Hampshire’s law would be a priority for the state’s abortion providers, now that Gov. Hassan is in office and there is a Democratic House majority. The Senate’s 13-11 Republican majority is unlikely to block repeal; Republican Senators Stiles and Odell voted against passage of the law. I was wrong about repeal being taken up this year, but I still believe it will come up before the 2014 election. The General Court reconvenes in January. Repeal is cheaper and quicker than litigation. I don’t see the Illinois experience being repeated in the Granite State.


Author: Ellen Kolb

New Hampshire-based writer, activist, hiker.