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Pro-Life Hero: The Real Kelly Ayotte

Good post from Swamp Yankee in favor of Kelly Ayotte. — Erick

Perhaps the most important Supreme Court decision regarding abortion in recent years was Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. Yes, that Ayotte, Kelly Ayotte.

Another time, a more detailed diary on the legal merits of that case may be warranted, but a quick summary should suffice for now. At issue in that case was the New Hampshire Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act. Former New Hampshire Republican Governor Craig Benson signed that act into law in 2003. Planned Parenthood sued.

Governor Benson’s Attorney General, Peter Heed, defended the law. However, Planned Parenthood won at both the district court and appellate court levels. Soon after, Heed left his office and Governor Benson appointed Kelly Ayotte to replace him. It was her decision to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

Prior to making that decision, John Lynch, a Democrat, was elected Governor. In New Hampshire, the Governor appoints the Attorney General. Ayotte’s re-appointment was due. Lynch was a conservative Democrat, and the Attorney General position is not overtly political. Ayotte was competent and popular. It was possible that Lynch would re-appoint her despite party differences, but no one knew for certain.

Lynch adamantly opposed the New Hampshire Parental Notification Prior to Abortion Act. He made it clear that he wanted Ayotte to cease her appeal to the Supreme Court. By working against the wishes of Lynch, Ayotte faced the possibility of losing her appointment. Ayotte appealed the case anyway. Governor Lynch went forth and filed his own Amicus Curiae brief opposing his own Attorney General, Kelly Ayotte.

Ayotte believed it was her duty as Attorney General to defend the law. Those who know her well also know that she is also committed to protecting life. She risked her re-appointment and put her principles ahead of her career.

Ayotte went to the Supreme Court and she won. Although the Supreme Court had quibbles with the New Hampshire law, the Court ultimately upheld a state’s right to enact parental notification laws.

Planned Parenthood was devastated. The Pro-Life community was elated. The case has been called the decision that ‘lays the foundation to chip away at Roe’. If you have a parental notification law in your state, you can probably thank Kelly Ayotte for that.

Many in the legal profession and the Pro-Life community worked with Kelly Ayotte on that case. A member of the National Right To Life Committee wrote the following about Kelly:

First, full disclosure. I work for Citizens for Life, the National Right to Life affiliate in New Hampshire. We were the lobby that got the law passed when no one thought it could be done. Needless to say, pro-abortionists immediately challenged the law in court.

We were treated very kindly by State Attorney General Kelly Ayotte. She kept us close by during her heroic struggle to defend the law all the way up to the highest court in the land.

In my role as a conduit for information from the experts to the decision-makers. I was privileged to see the brilliance and fortitude of the scholars and leaders who made the whole thing happen

Once the law was enjoined, the fight was on. To take this law up to the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston and then on to the Supreme Court was a decision entirely up to Kelly Ayotte, our attorney general. She did it.

As primary season descends, the ‘Race To The Right’ commences. Many candidates will talk, but it is just talk. Some will speak with great gusto and passion, but it is still just talk.

Everyone has all of sudden become the next great Tea Party hope. But where were they in the past? What does the record show? Are they competent? Can they win?

Kelly Ayotte will not fare too well with the bullhorn and pom-pom crowd. She is not loud or bombastic. She is judicious and soft spoken. But her actions speak for itself. Behind that calm demeanor lies a fierce and principled prosecutor. And that fierce and principled prosecutor will soon become a fierce and principled Senator.

Yes, I want a conservative Senator, but I also want a good Senator. I want someone with integrity. And I want someone who can win. Kelly Ayotte is all four.

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