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New Hampshire Becomes 1st State to Repeal Parental Notification Law

New Hampshire became the first state in the nation to repeal a law requiring that a parent be notified 48 hours before a minor has an abortion.

Rep. Fran Wendleboe (R-New Hampton) had fought to keep the law on the books by trying to amend the 2003 law to satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court and two lower federal courts that ruled against it.

The notification law, which never took effect because of a court challenge by Planned Parenthood, was faulted by the U.S. Supreme Court in January 2006 for failing to account for a medical emergency to the minor girl. Lower, federal court judges also judged the law, wanting for lack of an exception to protect the health of the mother.

But despite efforts by Wendleboe and social conservatives who staged a massive postcard-sending bid to get Gov. John Lynch to veto the measure to repeal the law, the Democratic governor signed the legislation on Friday in his office with no advanced notice to the public, The Nashua Telegraph reported. It wasn't until after Lynch had left the building that an aide alerted reporters that it happened.

"I think it sends a loud message: John Lynch the nice guy siding with the abortion lobby against the rights of parents to be involved with their medical care,'' Wendleboe said, according to the Telegraph.

"It's unsafe for young teens to have a surgical procedure like that without an adult aware of the possibility of complications," he insisted.

In a statement after privately signing the legislation to repeal the law, the governor wrote: "I strongly believe parents should be involved in these decisions, providing important support and guidance. Unfortunately, that is not possible in every case."

But according to Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen, Lynch took a radical approach to a moderate law that could have been fixed.

"One can be pro-choice and still believe that parents have a right to know whether their minor daughter became pregnant," said Cullen, according to the Associated Press. "Gov. Lynch is saying that parents don't have a right to know their minor children became pregnant."

Wendelboe said the law's supporters have not decided whether to introduce a new law in January or wait until after the 2008 elections.

The 2003 law had been passed under then-Gov. Craig Benson, a Republican, and a Republican-controlled Legislature. It was when Democrats took control of the statehouse in December that abortion-rights activists moved quickly to strip the notification law from the books.

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