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Misinformation Campaign in New Hampshire Senate Primary

Sep 8, 2010 | 2010 Press Releases

WASHINGTON — Today the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) issued a memorandum drafted by NRLC Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., refuting recent charges that as New Hampshire attorney general Kelly Ayotte is misrepresenting her pro-life credentials because she was somehow responsible for the defeat of the state’s Parental Notification Law in court.  Critics also challenge her pro-life stance because she “approved” the payment of Planned Parenthood’s attorney’s fees in the case.  Ayotte is running for the Republican nomination to the United States Senate and has been endorsed by both the National Right to Life Political Action Committee and New Hampshire’s Citizens for Life Political Action Committee.

“Those who charge that Attorney General Ayotte is not pro-life because of the Parental Notification Law court challenge are misinformed at best or, at worst, are playing fast and loose with the facts in an eleventh-hour attack to damage her campaign for the United States Senate,” said NRLC Director of State Legislation Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D.  “Anyone who actually studies the timeline and the facts will find that Ayotte used her office to vigorously defend the law all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court only to have pro-abortion members of the New Hampshire legislature ultimately repeal the act in the middle of the legal challenge.”

As Balch points out in the memorandum, former attorney general Peter Heed was in office when the case was lost in the U.S. District Court. Heed resigned after appealing the case to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and was replaced by Ayotte.  She continued the appeals process and against pro-abortion Governor John Lynch’s objections appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court which agreed that the appeals court had erred in its decision and remanded the case to the lower court.  The legislature repealed the law during the appeals process in 2007, thus mooting the court challenge.

Ayotte’s critics also cite the attorney’s fees paid by the state of New Hampshire to Planned Parenthood over the court challenge. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico ruled that the organization was entitled to attorneys fees and ordered the state to negotiate a settlement to the matter.  As Balch notes, “Ayotte had no alternative but to negotiate the best settlement possible.”

“If we are to see a reversal of Roe v. Wade, our movement must constantly push to enact, and attorneys general must constantly defend, laws that push at its boundaries,” Balch added.  “Kelly Ayotte did just that when she used every tool at her disposal to protect the rights of minor girls and their parents in New Hampshire.  It is unfair and unjust to accuse her of doing otherwise in order to score political points in the final week of her primary campaign.”

The full memo is available here: www.nrlc.org/press_releases_new/090710memoAyotte.pdf.