Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Misconstruing Alito

Anna Quindlen makes some good points in this essay, published in Newsweek, until she starts making the I’m-a-woman-hear-me-roar argument. She finds fault in Alito’s dissent in the Casey decision by misconstruing what he has written (I am assuming she has at least read it!).

She claims that the only rationale behind the Pennsylvania law – mandating, with exceptions, that women inform their husbands before obtaining an abortion – must be “pay[ing] lip service to the marital bond[,] lump[ing] spousal and parental notification together, so that women become children and husbands guardians[,]” or “play[ing] some cynical game with complex decisions of conscience for the sake of the folks back home.” This assumes, incorrectly, that men have no interest in a fetus and states have no interest in protecting that interest. As Judge Alito correctly pointed out: “The Pennsylvania legislature could have rationally believed that some married women are initially inclined to obtain an abortion without their husbands’ knowledge because of perceived problems – such as economic constraints, future plans, or the husbands’ previously expressed opposition – that may be obviated by discussion prior to the abortion.”

The other thing that should be noted is the fact that Alito agreed with the other two judges in striking down the Pennsylvania law, only dissenting from the portion that required spousal notification.


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