WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday on whether a doctor must notify a pregnant teenager's parent before performing an abortion.
The arguments came in a challenge to a New Hampshire law that two federal courts have already ruled unconstitutional. It is the first abortion case before the U.S. Supreme Court in five years -- and the first to be heard by new Chief Justice John Roberts.
The New Hampshire law requires doctors to wait for 48 hours after notifying the parents of a minor before proceeding with an abortion. It provides an exception for conditions that present an immediate threat to a pregnant teenager's life, but does not provide an exception for non-life-threatening medical emergencies, the New York Times reported.
Signed into law in 2003 by Republican governor Craig Benson, the new law has never been enforced. John Lynch, a Democrat who defeated Benson in last November's election, opposes the law and has filed a brief in the Supreme Court urging the justices to declare it unconstitutional.
Proponents of the law say a health exception could become a wide loophole, while opponents say the absence of the exception poses a real risk to teens' physical safety, the Washington Post reported.