In the fast moving abortion wars, is spousal permission next on the agenda?
Piers Morgan scraped the bottom of the barrel last night and joined George Stephanopoulos in giving Ann Coulter a platform to spew her lies and hideous bile on an unsuspecting public. It was all the usual toxic stew, but this stood out for me. She indicated that gave the usual platitudes about Roe vs Wade going back to the states and reassured everyone that in California and New York it would "still be legal to kill children until after baby is born."
I try not to pay too much attention to what she's saying because life is short, but this struck me:
She added later that “we can agree on” things like parental notification in most cases and “the husband being notified.”
Now, you will recall that in Casey vs Planned Parenthood, this the one thing that Anthony Kennedy agreed was an "undue burden" (for the dizzy broads who he came to believe all regretted their foolish decision and had to be "protected" from it otherwise.)It was big of him to notice that if a woman doesn't tell her husband she's pregnant, there are likely reasons for it far more complicated than a Supreme Court judge might be able to discern from afar. (Also too: individual liberty.)
Normally, I would think that Coulter was just doing her usual bomb throwing act, but this is apparently something that's being heavily talked up in anti-abortion circles. (I'm guessing "men's rights" are going to be the big talking point.) Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones reported:
Robin Marty at RH Reality Check flags another potential new tactic: mandatory spousal notification. The National Pro-Life Alliance (NPLA) sent a questionnaire to candidates for the Kansas legislature, which Huffington Post obtained. Included in the 11 questions, most of which have become fairly typical anti-abortion fare, is this:
Will you support legislation giving spouses the right to be notified and intervene before any abortion is performed on the couple's baby?
As RH Reality Check's Marty notes, NPLA's 2008 presidential questionnaire also included that question. Republican candidates Tom Tancredo, Mike Huckabee and now-governor of Kansas Sam Brownback said "yes" to all the questions, including that one. Between that and this latest survey, it wouldn't be too surprising if something like this popped up in the Kansas legislature sometime soon.
No it wouldn't. Two things. This is currently a far out, extreme position. But keep in mind that until very recently, banning abortion even in the case of incest and rape (and the life of the mother) was considered barbaric. The idea that an employer should be able to opt-out of an employment regulation because it allegedly violates their religious liberty wasn't even on the radar screen. These things are happening quickly.
Casey, interestingly enough, was decided in the lower Court by a panel that included Justice Samuel Alito. He believes that women should have to essentially get their husband's permission before getting an abortion. It's not that fringe.
In case anyone doesn't automatically understand this issue on grounds of basic human rights and individual liberty, the practical issue is well illustrated by the famous case of Gerri Santoro, which is credited with galvanizing the pro-choice movement. (Hint: she died because she tried to perform an abortion on herself. The reason? She had gotten pregnant as a result of an affair while her husband was out of town. The husband was a violent abuser.)