Court upholds abortion-notice law

The Supreme Court upheld a Utah law requiring a doctor to notify, "if possible,"the parents of a minor seeking an abortion. Splitting 6 to 3, the justices ruled that the statute "plainly serves important state interests, is narrowly drawn to protect only those interests, and does not violate any guarantees of the Constitution."

The case drew widespread attention because the high court had ruled earlier that a state may not allow parents to have veto power over a daughter's abortion. This case tested how far a state may go in exercising its power to regulate abortions.

In another ruling, a divided court, rejecting a sex-discrimination challenge, upheld statutory rape laws that punish men for having sexual intercourse with underage females.

The 5-to-4 ruling, involving five separate opinions, held that California's statutory-rape law does not discriminate against men -- even though the law provides no penalty for women who have intercourse with young males. The court said the statute is justified "to prevent illegitimate teenage pregnancy by providing an additional deterrent for men."

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