updated 7/16/2004 8:23:43 PM ET 2004-07-17T00:23:43

A federal appeals court on Friday threw out an Idaho law requiring girls under age 18 to get parental consent for abortions, ruling that its provisions on emergency abortions were too strict.

Writing for the court, Judge Marsha Berzon said there was no reasonable explanation for limiting emergency abortions without consent to “sudden and unexpected” instances of physical complications.

She noted that other emergency medical procedures are allowed on minors without parental permission that do not fit the “sudden and unexpected” category.

The court said the rest of the law could not be salvaged because the emergency provisions were too important.

The ruling reversed a 2001 order by a U.S. magistrate upholding key provisions of the 2000 law.

The law had been challenged by Planned Parenthood of Idaho and one of the four Idaho doctors who performs abortions.

In 2001 there were 738 abortions performed in the state, a drop from 1980, when 2,553 were performed, state statistics show.

Lawmaker says battle isn't over
Rebecca Poedy, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Idaho said the overwhelming majority of abortions by minors already involve parents, but “why we fought so hard against this law is that not all minors come from model families.”

Republican Rep. Bill Sali, an ardent abortion opponent, said the legal battle is not over.

“We went into this believing we would lose at the 9th Circuit and hopefully prevail on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court,” Sali said.

But Michael Journee, spokesman for Gov. Dirk Kempthorne who signed the parental consent bill into law, said neither the governor nor his attorney have reviewed the ruling and no recommendations have been made about further appeals.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s deputies were reviewing the decision and had no immediate comment, a spokesman said.

Julie Lynde of the Cornerstone Institute, an organization looking for ways to restrict abortion that will withstand court scrutiny, said she expected an appeal.

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