The Supreme Court started hearing arguments on Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood today, and already the fur is flying.
The court, starting with Justice David Souter, a New Hampshire native, wasted little time before firing questions at Ayotte about how the state’s law deals with situations where a minor’s health — but not life — is in danger and she needs an immediate abortion.
Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer zeroed in on how doctors would avoid being prosecuted or sued if they performed an abortion if the minor did not want to notify a parent and a judge was unavailable to provide the necessary approval.
The justices did not seem satisfied when Ayotte said another, existing New Hampshire law would protect the doctor from legal action and that the state’s attorney general would set a policy that would shield physicians in such instances.
“How do we know that’s the law?” asked Breyer. “There are people of good faith on both sides of this argument” who may disagree about the other law’s meaning.
“In an emergency, a woman needs to go to the hospital not a courthouse,” justices were told in a filing by Jennifer Dalven, attorney for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England which challenged the law.
Ahh, courthouse, hospital–what’s the difference? We just should have kept our legs closed, right?