Supreme Court’s Ayotte Ruling Portends Doom for Roe

Pro-aborts at SCOTUS

These pro-abortion protestors outside the Court during Ayotte arguments Nov. 30 have reason to fear the future of Roe [Photo by EJS]

On Wednesday, January 18, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down a 9-0 ruling in the case Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. The unanimous court ruled that the lower court went too far in declaring New Hampshire’s parental notification law entirely unconstitutional because of potential constitutional problems with part of the law.

Not only does this ruling require the lower court to more narrowly address the constitutional issues posed by the New Hampshire law, but it signals a new reluctance on the High Court to overturn abortion laws in their entirety simply because part of a law may be problematic in light of precedents like Roe and Casey.

“Undue Burden” Construct Under Revision?

In a press release on the Ayotte decision, League National Director Joe Scheidler remarked, “It is interesting that O’Connor penned the Opinion in this case. In 1982 she stated that ‘Roe is on a collision course with itself.’ Yet she found a way around the ‘collision course’ in the Casey ruling, warning that laws restricting abortion might place an ‘undue burden’ on a woman. Maybe O’Connor is re-thinking what constitutes an ‘undue burden.'”

“I think the Ayotte ruling anticipates the ultimate over-turning of Roe and the need for states to be prepared to be either pro-abortion or pro-life states,” Scheidler said. Commentators and pro-life leaders around the country have echoed Scheidler’s analysis.

No Word Yet on Scheidler Appeal

Oral arguments in the Ayotte case were heard the same day as the League’s Scheidler v. NOW case. A decision on Scheidler is expected soon.

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