Advice Goddess Blog
« Previous | Home | Next »

Alito On Notification
A friend told me he didn't have a problem with this yesterday, and I could see men's side, that it isn't fair to have responsibilities if a child is born, but not rights (not over a woman's body, but simply of notification). Well, it isn't that simple. Saletan puts it well, down to the final slippery slope (but there's a lot in his piece, so read the whole thing at the link):

Why does the man get all the breaks in your legal reasoning, Judge? Why does only the woman get treated like a child?

I see the chairman motioning for me to wrap this up, so I'll end with a question. Actually, I'll let Justice O'Connor ask the question. Here's what she wrote 13 years ago, replying to your opinion in Casey:

If a husband's interest in the potential life of the child outweighs a wife's liberty, the State could require a married woman to notify her husband before she uses a post-fertilization contraceptive. Perhaps next in line would be a statute requiring pregnant married women to notify their husbands before engaging in conduct causing risks to the fetus. After all, if the husband's interest in the fetus' safety is a sufficient predicate for state regulation, the State could reasonably conclude that pregnant wives should notify their husbands before drinking alcohol or smoking. Perhaps married women should notify their husbands before using contraceptives or before undergoing any type of surgery that may have complications affecting the husband's interest in his wife's reproductive organs.

What do you think, Judge? Is she right? If we put you on this court, would you strike down any of those laws she's talking about? Or is it open season on pregnant women?

Posted by aalkon at November 3, 2005 7:52 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


i thought is was a spousal notification clause, not a spousal permission clause

although i can see why women would want to get rid of the notification clause, if i was ever married and found out that my wife planned to abort my child, or had had an affair and was planning on aborting that child - i may not be able to stop it, but i could give her a divorce

so i can see why women wouldnt want a spousal notification

Posted by: john at November 3, 2005 1:05 PM

while notifying the spouse is the right thing to do, in almost all cases, the government shouldn't be in the business of telling people how to run their private lives.

i can understand parental notification in the case of minors, but spousal notification? if the government needs to get involved in your marriage, chances are you shouldn't be in one in the first place.

Posted by: g*mart at November 3, 2005 10:35 PM

what if the husband doesn't know she's pregnant? does that mean that because he has no knowledge of the fetus, he has no interest in its development, and she wouldn't have to tell him? unfortunately, probably not.

Posted by: kittie at November 6, 2005 7:37 AM

Leave a comment