Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Monday, January 02, 2012

New parental notification law

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports:
Beginning today, girls younger than 18 will have to notify a parent or guardian before they have an abortion.

New Hampshire’s new parental notification law is intended to change how minors access abortion services.

The law is similar to one legislators passed in 2003, but the U.S. Supreme Court said it failed to protect a minor’s health and sent it back to the lower courts. The new law contains the health protections.

Gov. John Lynch vetoed the law, saying it did not allow an exemption for rape, incest or abuse or allow a physician to exercise his or her best medical judgment and proceed with an abortion when a delay could create a grave and immediate risk to the minor’s health.

His veto was overridden.
The article goes on to describe various circumstances under which a minor can get an abortion without parental notification.

Note that the issue is not parental consent. The fight is merely over parental notification.

If the minor has been raped, then that is all the more reason for the parents to be notified. They should know about the rape and the abortion. As long as the parents have the moral and legal responsibility for their child, they should certainly know about the child's legal and medical dilemmas.

My most controversial post here was when I attacked a proposed law mandated strangers to anonymously report child abuse suspicions to state social workers. Some critics wondered "who could be against reporting child abuse". Well, I am certainly in favor of physicians reporting actual rapes to the police and the parents, and abortions to the parents.

Somehow liberals have all this backwards. If a mom spanks a child in a Walmart, liberals want the shopper in the next aisle to be required to phone it into CPS on the cell phone. But if a 14-year-old girl is raped by her 25-year-old boyfriend, they want an elaborate system of judicial bypasses to prevent the parents from finding out the truth.

What we have here is a systematic effort to undermine parental responsibility, and to ultimately destroy the family. While western civilization was built on the notion that parents have responsibility for kids, we are seeing more and more laws that intrude on the that responsibility, and let parental decisions be second-guessed by judges and social workers. In the case of abortion, the parents are not even told that the judge has intervened.

Now I ask, who could be against physicians reporting a child surgery to the parents? A lot of people, apparently. The NH governor vetoed this law until his veto was overridden. Here is how the law's judicial bypass works:
When the girl does not want her parents involved, she petitions a superior court for a confidential hearing before a judge, who must decide whether the girl is mature enough to make her own decision, or the abortion would be in her best interest.

A minor can fill out a petition on the court system website — courts.state.nh.us — and leave it at any superior court clerk’s office during regular business hours. The site also provides information outlining the judicial bypass system.

The petition may also be mailed, emailed or left in a drop box at the court. If the petition is emailed, an answering service needs to be called to inform the court that the petition has been filed, said court spokesman Laura Kiernan. The call will begin the 48-hour period within which a judge must rule on the petition.

A hearing will be held either in person or electronically, and the judge will be required to rule within 48 hours of the petition being filed. If the judge does not rule within the 48 hours, the petition is granted automatically.

Outside of regular business hours, a judge, a backup judge and a clerk will be available to hear the petitions, Kiernan said. The petitioner will be entitled to court-appointed counsel, she said.

The day after a petition is granted, the minor can take the order or certificate to the provider. If the petition is denied, the minor can appeal to the Supreme Court with a written legal memorandum, and the court will rule within 48 hours. The minor has 30 days to file the appeal, Kiernan said.
So the child just has to email a request from a web site, and she is entitled to free legal help. Obviously, these petitions are going to be granted if certain elements are included in the allegations, and the girl will be advised by either the abortion clinic or the free lawyer on how to include those elements.

Before long, every child will have a Facebook friend who is a govt social worker with power to overrule parents. Whenever the child thinks that his or her parents are being unreasonable, he or she will be able to just send a text message and get the parental action will be reversed. This will all be justified based on the supposed expertise of the social workers, or the incompetence of parents, or anecdotes about how some parents are not nice. We are in the midst of a grand social experiment.

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