Thursday, January 12, 2006

Roe v. Wade v. Alito?

Regardless of what Samuel Alito's opinion may or may not be on abortion, democrats are grasping at straws with Alito's supposed attempts to undermine Roe v. Wade.

In particular, they cite Alito's dissent in a 1992 case in Pennsylvania, Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey. At that time, Pennsylvania had a law which required that a married woman seeking an abortion notify her husband first. Note that the law clearly did not require the consent of the husband -- only notification. The law also made exceptions for women who believed that telling their husbands could threaten their safety. It hardly amounted to a threat to Roe v. Wade and did nothing to limit a woman's ability to obtain an abortion. No one on the pro-life side would have seen the law as a victory in even the most minute sense of the word.

However, former head of the NARAL Pro-Choice America, Kate Michelman, was quoted saying, "What we need to get at here is how Judge Alito could have believed that forcing women to notify their husbands before having an abortion was not an undue burden on women. That opinion treated women like little girls."

Rather than restricting the ability of a woman to abort her child, the law merely required the married woman to behave as though she was, well ... married. To ask the government to legally recognize a marriage between a specific man and woman is to ask that the man and woman be treated as a unit. Assuming that marriage is voluntary, the man and woman have both agreed to this union and the accompanying treatment under the law. There's a very simple way to avoid the responsibilities that come with marriage: don't get married.

If voting to uphold the Pennsylvania law constitutes an attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade, perhaps we should be concerned that upholding the Kelo v. New London decision constitutes an attack on a woman's right to property. Perhaps we should be more concerned that a woman's right to keep and bear arms is under attack by more than just laws requiring the woman to inform her husband of her gun collection stored in the basement (unless, of course, telling him could threaten her safety). Perhaps we should question whether a woman truly has the right to her own body, when she must not only notify but receive the consent of a doctor to obtain medicine or when the FDA decides what she is permitted to use to treat pain and illness.

If violating Constitutional rights is no longer in vogue, someone needs to inform the politicians in the confirmation hearings. Before they point the finger at Alito, a good look in the mirror might just be in order.

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