Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood

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  • Fairness in the Courts
  • Reproductive Rights
  • Authored Amicus Brief
2006

Determined the constitutionality of a law requiring parental notice for minor's abortion, where the law has no exception for medical emergencies.

Summary of the Case

The case was the State of New Hampshire's challenge to lower court rulings that struck down a state law requiring parental notification before a minor's abortion. The law was invalidated because it made no exception for circumstances when an immediate abortion was needed to protect the minor's health.

Our Role in the Case

Legal Momentum filed a brief on behalf of organizations that support women's equality as amici curiae in this critical abortion case before the United States Supreme Court.

Our brief focused on the importance of legal abortion in allowing women to participate as full and equal citizens in society. We point out that impeding legal access to abortion can actually force a woman to continue a pregnancy that she wants to end, which is an intrusion on her physical integrity that has no parallel for men. What is more, because virtually all women who bear children raise them, interfering with the woman's ability to decide whether to bear a child also imposes the role of mother on the woman, which has significant consequences for both her private life and the nature and extent of her participation in public life. We conclude that for these reasons, restrictions on the ability to exercise choice in childbearing undermine women's equality.

Decision

In its decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the requirement that abortion restrictions not endanger pregnant women's health, but remanded the case to the lower courts to determine whether a remedy less drastic than striking down the entire law would be sufficient to protect minors' rights.