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Pro-Life Groups Go to Bat for Kelly Ayotte in N.H. Senate Race

4:03 PM, Sep 9, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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In the September 14 New Hampshire GOP Senate primary, pro-life groups are weighing in to defend Attorney General Kelly Ayotte's pro-life credentials. Though Ayotte is pro-life and has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, her record is being assailed by supporters of candidate Ovide LaMontagne, who styles himself as the true conservative in the race. The most recent poll shows Ayotte leading LaMontagne 34% to 21%. Pro-choice multi-millionaire Bill Binnie was close behind at 17%, but other polls have shown him in second place.

Pro-Life Groups Go to Bat for Kelly Ayotte in N.H. Senate Race

N.H. GOP Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte (right) talks to voters.

The Susan B. Anthony List, whose primary goal is to send pro-life women to Congress, announced yesterday that it's launching a $150,000 campaign to support Ayotte, and the National Right to Life Committee released a memo countering claims that Ayotte wrongfully had the state pay for $300,000 in legal fees to Planned Parenthood. The NRLC writes: 

On August 12, 2007, Judge DiClerico issued an opinion finding that Planned Parenthood was entitled to attorney fees and court costs. Judge DiClerico ordered both sides to meet and make their best efforts to resolve the amount, to avoid further court proceedings.
 
At this point there was no law for Ayotte to defend when the payment of plaintiff’s fees was ordered. The DEMOCRATS cost the state the loss of the case by repealing the law and they cost the state $300,000 by repealing the law and handing Planned Parenthood the win and New Hampshire and its families the loss. The Democrats turned a winnable case and, most importantly, protection for the state’s minor daughters from unscrupulous abortionists into a gift to Planned Parenthood. Based on Judge DiClerico’s decision, it was a given that Planned Parenthood was going to receive attorney fees. Attorney General Ayotte had no alternative but to negotiate the best settlement possible.

Full memo after the jump:

September 7, 2010
 
To:    Interested Parties
 
From:  Mary Spalding Balch, J.D. 
 Director of State Legislation and Counsel
 
Re: Kelly Ayotte’s pro-life credentials
______________________________________________________________________________
Recently, there have been claims by some that Kelly Ayotte, Attorney General of New Hampshire, is being misleading about her prolife credentials.   Those criticizing her erroneously claim that she lost the court case dealing with New Hampshire’s Parental Notification Law, and further attempt to criticize her prolife credentials because she “approved” the payment of Planned Parenthood’s attorney fees in the case.
 
However, the facts are that she was successful on the portion of the case for which she was fully responsible. Peter Heed was Attorney General at the trial level and was responsible for establishing the record when the state lost the case in the U.S. District Court.  Planned Parenthood v. Heed, 296 F. Supp.2d 59 (D.N.H. 2003).  Heed appealed to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.  Heed v. Planned Parenthood , 390 F.3d 53 (1st Cir.2004).  Kelly Ayotte was appointed Attorney General after the appeal to the First Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals was filed.  The Court of Appeals affirmed the holding of the district court. 
 
On November 4, 2005, Attorney General Ayotte appealed the case - over the objections of Governor John Lynch - to the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court granted certiorari to review the case. Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood 544 U.S. 1048 (2005).
 
On January 18, 2006, in a 9-0 decision issued by the high court, the Justices said the appeals court went too far in rejecting the law in its entirety and remanded it back to the lower court for reconsideration.  This was a victory for the state of New Hampshire.
 
The New Hampshire legislature then repealed the Parental Notification Act in June 2007. Governor Lynch signed the repeal on July 5, 2007, making any rehearing of the case moot. On July 12, 2007, U.S. District Judge DiClerico ruled that the case was moot in light of the law’s repeal.

On August 12, 2007, Judge DiClerico issued an opinion finding that Planned Parenthood was entitled to attorney fees and court costs. Judge DiClerico ordered both sides to meet and make their best efforts to resolve the amount, to avoid further court proceedings.
 
At this point there was no law for Ayotte to defend when the payment of plaintiff’s fees was ordered. The DEMOCRATS cost the state the loss of the case by repealing the law and they cost the state $300,000 by repealing the law and handing Planned Parenthood the win and New Hampshire and its families the loss. The Democrats turned a winnable case and, most importantly, protection for the state’s minor daughters from unscrupulous abortionists into a gift to Planned Parenthood. Based on Judge DiClerico’s decision, it was a given that Planned Parenthood was going to receive attorney fees. Attorney General Ayotte had no alternative but to negotiate the best settlement possible.
 
In order to build toward reversal of Roe v. Wade, the prolife movement must constantly push to enact and Attorneys General must constantly defend laws that push at its boundaries. There is always the danger that such laws would be struck down. In such case, the state, under existing law, must pay attorney fees. We must encourage Attorneys General - not deter them - from making every effort to uphold increasingly protective prolife laws. If we turn on them when they are forced to pay attorney fees, then in the future many will be reluctant to defend any but the most minimal prolife legislation. This we cannot do.

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