In Times of Medical Crisis, Women Need Doctors Not Judges
Statement of Kudra MacCaillech, Director of Development,
Concord Feminist Health Center,
Plaintiff, Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England et al.
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Concord Feminist Health Center (CFHC) is a non-profit health clinic in New Hampshire specializing in abortion care. As the state's largest abortion provider, CFHC cares for hundreds of women each year and offers a variety of reproductive health services. For over 30 years, CFHC has offered routine gynecological care, including family planning assistance, emergency contraception, testing and treatment for sexually transmitted disease, anonymous HIV testing, pregnancy options counseling, and abortion. In 2003, CFHC brought the lawsuit — along with the Feminist Health Center of Portsmouth, Inc., Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and Dr. Wayne Goldner — challenging New Hampshire's teen abortion restriction because the law fails to protect teens facing serious medical emergencies.
The law would prevent New Hampshire doctors from performing an abortion for a teen under the age of 18 until 48 hours after a parent has been notified. It forces doctors to delay the abortion even if the teen is experiencing a medical emergency that requires an immediate abortion to preserve the teen's health. This is true, despite the fact that delaying care can, for some, result in liver or kidney dysfunction, infertility, blindness, or chronic pain. Doctors caring for a teen in such a crisis should not be prevented from immediately treating her and doing whatever is need to protect her health and future fertility.
The lower court struck down this law precisely because it fails to protect teens who face these and other complications. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will do the same and recognize the importance of protecting women's health. We will continue to fight and do all we can to protect the health of teens and women in this state and elsewhere.