Supreme Court Rejects Appeal on Idaho Abortion Law

The US Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday to reinstate an Idaho law requiring minors to get parental consent for abortions. The justices let stand without comment the July 2004 Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals decision which declared the parental consent law unconstitutional. The lower court found the law’s restrictions to be too narrow, ruling that there was no reasonable explanation for restricting medical emergency abortions to sudden and unexpected physical complications, reports the Associated Press. Additionally, the lower court cited other emergency medical procedures which are allowed on minors without parental consent that do not fit the “sudden and unexpected category,” reports the Associated Press. The law was challenged by Planned Parenthood of Idaho and one of only four doctors who perform abortion in the state.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has refused to reopen this case,” said Planned Parenthood of Idaho Executive Director Rebecca Poedy. “As the lower court recognized, the state should not be allowed to prevent teens with serious medical conditions from getting the health care they need in a timely and safe manner.” The high court’s decision is being viewed as a victory for pro-choice advocates who argue that politicians should not impose policy that assumes to understand family relationships and can easily backfire.

While 44 states have laws requiring parental consent or notification prior to a minor’s having an abortion, there are three conflicting definitions of the term “medical emergency” in the Sixth, Seventh, and Ninth federal Circuit Courts, reports the Associated Press. The justice’s refusal evades a highly charged issue as speculation intensifies about an upcoming vacancy on the high court, reports the Associated Press. At least three justices have said that they believe Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision which ruled that a woman has a constitutional right to abortion, should be overturned.

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Planned Parenthood 3/28/05; Associated Press 3/28/05, Associated Press 3/29/05, Feminist Daily News Wire 7/23/04, Feminist Daily News Wire 8/24/04, Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report 3/29/05

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