By Gudrun Schultz

WASHINGTON, United States, January 20, 2006 ( –The Supreme Court’s first abortion ruling in over five years has been claimed as a partial victory by life and family organizations.

Last week the Court ruled in favor of a New Hampshire law requiring parental notification before a minor girl obtains an abortion, but called for further hearings to ensure cases requiring emergency medical treatment are provided for under the law.

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England had challenged the law as unconstitutional, since it did not allow immediate abortion access in cases of non-life-threatening health concerns for the young mother. A lower court had decided in favor of Planned Parenthood and rejected the entire law.

Ed Whelan, Supreme Court specialist at National Review Online, said mainstream media coverage has ignored implications in the Supreme Court’s ruling for the protection of future legislation restricting access to abortion, in a media analysis from TimesWatch.

“The ruling should make it much tougher, if not ultimately impossible, for the abortion lobby to invalidate parental-notification statutes in their entirety because of supposed constitutional problems (or, more precisely, because of conflict with Supreme Court rulings) in a small fraction of their applications,” Mr. Whelan said.Â

“The same should be true for a range of other abortion regulations. “

The New York Times ran coverage of the ruling under the headline “Justices Reaffirm Abortion Access For Emergencies.” The court did indeed reaffirm emergency access to abortion, but it did not accept the lower court’s decision to throw out the entire parental-notification law.

The decision to protect parents’ rights to be notified of their child’s intended abortion procedure is seen as a significant victory for organizations defending life.

“Today’s decision reaffirms that parents have a right to know and that girls have a right to have their parents involved—it is a victory for both parents and minor girls,” Mary Spaulding Balch, State Legislative director for National Right to Life, said in a statement to the press. “There is no abortion procedure that can be performed so quickly that there is not enough time to make a short phone call to a minor girl’s parents.”

American Life League also sees a victory in the ruling.

“American Life League commends the Supreme Court for rejecting the appellate court ruling that overturned New Hampshire’s parental notification law,” said Jim Sedlak, vice president of American Life League. “However, we are disappointed with the high court’s decision to return the case to the lower court for further consideration.”

Pro-abortion groups have also acknowledged that an important precedent in favor of restricted abortion access has been set by the Court’s decision.

For coverage of the Supreme Court ruling, see:

US Supreme Court Avoids Major Abortion Ruling