Is New Hampshire Considering a Parental Notification Law?

Robin Marty

The new legislature claims 2011 will be all about the economy, but states a parental notificiation law could be considered since it's "non-controversial."

Nearly every newly-elected conservative legislator has made the same statement in the month since election day: “Our primary interest is the economy, not social issues.” 

Then, each Republican leader trots out a laundry list of legislation they would consider passing, so as not to disappoint the social conservatives that put them in office.

New Hampshire, apparently, is no different.  After stating that the new majority has three issues they want to focus on – jobs, jobs and jobs – it turns out they’d like to pass a couple of “not distracting,” “noncontroversial” bills, too.

Like parental notification.

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Via the Concord Monitor:

[I]n an interview after the session, [House Speaker Bill] O’Brien said that while financial issues will be the focus of the Republican caucus, there are representatives and constituents who are concerned about social issues.

“We’d be remiss if we didn’t visit some of those to make sure our constituents’ interests are being protected,” O’Brien said.

For example, O’Brien said he anticipates a bill requiring parental notification for minors seeking an abortion will go forward this session because it has popular support.

“That’s not distracting. That’s not going to take much time at all,” O’Brien said. “It’s an issue where there’s such a commonsense, noncontroversial approach to what the solution is.”

[Senate President Peter] Bragdon said Republican priorities this session will be “budget, taxes, jobs and the economy.” But he would not rule out passing other bills.

“If fiscal issues remain the focus, other things that come up can be dealt with,” Bragdon said. “Something like (parental notification) seems to be a relatively clearly defined issue. It passed before. There is a clear court ruling. It seems, in terms of legislative policy, kind of a noncomplex type of bill.”

As the article goes on to point out, some form of parental consent or parental notification has been defeated 14 times in the state over the last 28 years.  It was rejected as recently as 2009.  When it passed in 2003, it was repealed by a majority four years later.  It was even struck down by the courts due to a lack of health exemption for teen girl.

How something that has been rejected over and over and over again can be defined as “a noncomplex type of bill” that takes a “commonsense, noncontroversial approach” to restricting abortion shows how clearly out of step many socially conservative politicians are with the majority of their own constituents.

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