Thursday, January 19, 2006


DH: Right-wing group spins SCOTUS vote as anti-abortion victory

By Dave Haigler, Jan. 19, 2006

The right-wing group "Family Research Council" (FRC) spun yesterday's 9/0 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court as a victory for the "pro-life movement." The group's president Tony Perkins said this in a press release on the group's webpage:

"This is a great victory for the future of parental notification laws. This ruling is encouraging and gives great momentum to other states looking to protect parental rights and safeguard the health of underage girls."
Tony Perkins, President, Family Research Council

The FRC was started two decades ago by James Dobson of Focus on the Family with Gary Bauer as its president. Bauer served as Ronald Reagan's Domestic Policy Advisor in the White House.

The FRC's press release goes on to say:

"New Hampshire openly agreed that its notification requirement prior to an abortion could not be constitutionally applied in cases where a minor faces a health emergency. In such cases the law permits a judicial bypass that allows the teen to seek permission from a judge."

This is closer to the truth of the matter. The problem that the lower courts and the Supreme Court had with the N.H. law was that it did not clearly protect a minor woman seeking an abortion on health grounds. The significance of the SCOTUS decision is solely that it reiterated its prior holdings that any abortion restriction must permit exceptions for the life and health of the mother, as I blogged yesterday. This is not rocket science, folks. All the SCOTUS was really saying yesterday was -- hey, you didn't get it before, so let us reiterate, you must allow exceptions for both the life and health of the mother.

This is not a victory for parental notification at all. The SCOTUS sent the case back to the First Circuit Federal Court in Boston to clean up the mess over the law's overreaching.

Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
lawfirm webpage: www.haigler.info
political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com

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