WASHINGTON, DC (January 19, 2006)— A spokeswoman for the Pro-Life Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops addressed the Supreme Court's 9-0 decision in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
"In Ayotte, the Supreme Court returns the challenge to New Hampshire's parental notification law back to the district court without answering major questions posed in the case," said Deirdre McQuade, Director of Planning and Information for the Pro-Life Secretariat.
"The lower court, appropriately, was told it should not have preemptively invalidated an entire abortion regulation on the basis of a potentially unconstitutional application to a small number of hypothetical cases. We welcome this development and hope it will end the disposition of lower courts to enjoin the enforcement of reasonable, commonsense abortion regulations for years while challenges are appealed."
McQuade then drew attention to the opinion's limitations. "But the Court missed an opportunity to address the substantive legal questions raised in Ayotte and we are left with more questions than answers -- especially with regard to the so-called health exception first established 33 years ago in Doe v. Bolton," she said.
"This case concerns the validity of a New Hampshire law that lets parents participate in life-shaping decisions of their children. That law reflects the common sense principle that caring parents know best what their children need. But neither the lower courts nor state legislatures have been given the guidance necessary to address these issues. And that is unfortunate."