October 31, 2005


I would prefer a Thomito, but this will do.

Via Insty, who points out that people will be arguing a lot about Alito's support of spousal notification in case of abortion. He emphasizes that the proposal for husband notification had some important exceptions, including a proviso that the notification need not occur if the spouse was not the biological parent of the child. Glenn reminds us that even if the husband is not the biological parent of the child, he is still on the hook for child support if the mother gives birth.

He's correct: we live in a society that—recognizing that historically the burden of childbearing and childraising has fallen disproportionately on women—has overcompensated, making children "her choice, but our responsibility."

Do I think a man should have veto power over a woman's choice with respect to abortion? No. Not particularly. But I do think that if two people can document that they had a deal regarding their desire to remain childless—and a paper trail to show they used birth control—they should be able to make these decisions independently of each other. Men should be able to make arrangements wherein they are not liable for child support, provided women are also protected.

Because the way we do things now, the woman makes the decision, and the man pays. In many instances, a man can be named as a biological father when he is not—and he can still be required to pay for a child that isn't his, even when there's no marriage to make him the "presumptive father."

Nature's system is unfair to women. But the way society operates now is unfair to men. There ought to be a middle ground.

UPDATE: Goldstein has a roundup of lefty reactions. Looks like the right people are upset.

Posted by Attila at October 31, 2005 09:58 AM | TrackBack

So you prefer that of the three, the child should be the one to suffer the consequences? And by the way, birth control has been known to fail; should the father not be required to contribute to that child's support?
Under what you propose, the one who will suffer most is not the father or the mother, but the child.
"Pro-lifers" often seem to have the view that the unborn must be protected no matter what, but after that, kid, you're on your on!

Posted by: denise at October 31, 2005 11:37 AM

1) No.

2) Birth control failures = joint responsibility. But, again, the woman can choose abortion and the man cannot. If there is a way for the woman to opt out of parenthood, there should be some sort of legal agreement that allows the man to do the same. If would have to be carefully constructed, of course.

3) Oh, I dunno: I think mothers will suffer plenty, just like they do now. On the other hand, women still--in this day and age--experience many more of the joys of childraising.

4) Hm. Do you perceive me to be a "pro-lifer"?

5) Where does adoption fit into your scheme? You appear to see giving birth and abortion as the only alternatives. I find that a little odd.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 31, 2005 12:19 PM

How is birth control any different than abortion? If 2 people don't want children, guess what, they shouldn't do the thing that makes it possible. Either life is sacred, including all the special processes that create and sustain life, or it is not. Birth control may not create ugly and disgusting pictures like abortion, but in God's eyes it's all the same. People who want to argue for a difference just want an excuse to give in to lust.

Posted by: Ra at October 31, 2005 12:28 PM

It sounds like you're against Natural Family Planning as well as artificial birth control: "If 2 people don't want children, they shouldn't do the thing that makes it possible." So that would include abstaining from intercourse at any point in the woman's cycle. Do you know that you are arguing for celibacy within all marriages, at least until the woman reaches menopause?

Sounds a little harsh.

And ending a human life is the same as . . . not ending a human life? Hm. That sounds like you're cheapening life.

Just out of curiousity, do all the "special processes that create and sustain life" include a 17-year-old's wet dream?

For what it's worth, I know a lot of Roman Catholics, and I've never heard anyone take such a radical position. Not ever.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 31, 2005 12:42 PM

"People who want to argue for a difference just want an excuse to give in to lust."
Posted by: Ra

Personally, I'm a big fan of lust. Now I guess I'm gonna have to whip out the camcorder and document each session of intercourse. For legal reasons, of course. I'll need a special lens to document my wife's NuvaRing, but I'm sure she will understand.

Posted by: John Gillnitz at October 31, 2005 01:37 PM

It's like this. Marriage is a partnership. It is a way of making two individuals one legal entity. Two people become one in the eyes of the law.

It is a great deal in many ways. But great deals also come with great responsibilities. One of them is that partners have to work together -- and they cannot do that without full information.

As far as I am concerned, if you did not want to tell your spouse about reproductive decisions you should not get married. All you are doing is playing house in that case. You want the privileges of marriage you have to accept the responsibilities -- and that means surrendering a great deal of autonomy.

That goes for the guy as well as the gal. If your wife has a kid, well, that kid is your responsibility, even if you are not the father. Maybe you should have though longer *before* getting married, but once you *are* married, the fruits of one are the fruits of both. Don't like it? Don't get married.

Problem is that today too many people would rather play house than live up to the responsibilities that they willingly signed up for.

Posted by: Mark L at October 31, 2005 02:08 PM

I know a lot of Catholics myself. I attended a Catholic university at a time when priests were thinking about leaving the church to become social radicals. i must admit that i never heard anythng like Ra's radical view, even from the conservatives.

In fact, the priests tended to have a kind of "natural law" model. Thgey spoke of sex as having more than one "purpose." One was certainly reporduction, and the church has certainly then and now argued against "artficially" frustrating such a purpose. But another is what biologizts would call "pair bonding." To deny sex merely avoid conception would frustrate this second purpose.

I do have an image here which seems so ancient, so out of our time, at a disjoint from our current social ideology.

When i was around 16, My great aunt took me to another town to meet the family of a man she had once workded with, an irish Catholic. he had never had more than an entry level job. but he had 13 children. when we entered his smnall house, I was amazed at how different the scene was from my own home.

In the frong living room were all of the family, all 13 children, the mother and the father. My eyes were immediately drawn to the daughter who was my age, who was very beautiful, and with whom i had corresponded (we both wrote poetry, mine bad, hers somewhat better). But i immediately noticed that every person in the room had a smile on his or her face!

Everyone was doing something. The ffamily had no television, and only a small radio which was not on. instead, some of the children were playing bboard games. A couple of the boys were wrestling around on the floor, with their father close at hand to see that it didn't get out of hand. One guirl about 10 was cooing to the baby as she changed it. Mom was doing some ironing as she talked to some of the children on various topics. The oldest girl, my correspondent was sewing a dress for one of the other girls. They made all their own clothing.

The general truth in the room was that this family was very happy, and that happoiness was based on there happiness with their life with each other. Their poverty did not seem important to them, just a fact of life, something to deal with.

I always think of this family when I hear people say we ought to abort kids because "three is enough," or that we should abort kids because they would have a life of poverty.

Shpouldn't we be arguing aborrtion at the extremeties? shjouldn't we be teachig that even an unexpected child is a joy that comes with responsibilities?

Posted by: Averroes at October 31, 2005 04:07 PM

Alright, I'm being incontinent. But just a little more, almost on topic this time.

Now that Alito's view has been overturned, and the Pennsylvania law with it, and there is no law about spousal nitification in that state, let's consider the consequences, remembering that abortion is legal, and thatthe overturned laws had exceptions for special circumstances.

Let's say some married man's wife becomes pregnant, and, by a miracle, he KNOWS that he is the father. Let us say that he doesn't want the child, for whatever reason. let us also suppose that this is an early pregnancy.

Now, suuppose the husband obtains a safe oral abortifacant and secrets this in his wife's food. Let us suppose that the resultant abortion is hardly noticable.

Has the husband done anything wrong? Do you think that he had any duty to tell his spouse about his decision to abort the child? the Supreme Cpourt hqs ruled that laws apply equally to both sexes, and their overturning of the notification law must apply equally to men.

What do you think?

Posted by: Averroes at October 31, 2005 04:14 PM

I think it's a cute construct, but under no circumstances can you induce a miscarriage without the woman noticing: the cramps are excruciating, even at 10 weeks.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 31, 2005 06:21 PM

OK. Maybe. Whart i know is that sponttaneous abortins are surprisingly common, and most often unnoticed. So, we can reason, one could in theory find an abortificant that is not noticed if used early enough.

But you missed the point. I don't care if the abortion is noticed, really. In fact, my hypothetical depends only on the notion that it does not harm the woman.

When the woman notices the abortion, would she need a law requiring notification of a spouse to have an action against her husband for aborting the baby without her knowledge?

I did know someone who took RU-486, and was told to expect cramping and maybe bleeding, but she had no particular problem, she told me. But ths is just one example.

It is also possible that since she wars relating something that hapopened a while before, in another country, she was minimizing in memory.


Posted by: Averroes at October 31, 2005 08:07 PM

Very early miscarriages are supposed to be rather common, but that generally means something like a "late period" that actually contains a fertilized egg.

RU-486 is the same thing: it aborts a baby who may/may not exist.

But I will answer your theoretical: no. It isn't the man's choice. It should never be the man's choice, because no matter what, the woman is going to do all the heavy lifting--in carrying the pregnancy to term, bearing the child, and then either raising him/her or enduring the agony of separation if she chooses adoption. (In a marriage, of course, the man should be part of that decision-making process.) Yes, I know there are stay-at-home dads, but they are still rare.

There should be circumstances that allow a man to opt out of child support if his arrangement with the woman was that they would remain chlldless. (And, John--there are birth control options that can be documented easily, such as implantables, injectables, and IUDs.) I'm not talking about a path I endorse, but the current situation is one-sided in the extreme. It's "I make my choice, and then you pay." Even in the absence of marriage.

I was raised to never, ever count on a man for financial support--the rule for women is, be skeptical until the man has really earned your trust.

And I would never count on the law to get child support out of a man, either. Even if enforcement were perfect in this country, he could always go to another country.

Posted by: Attila Girl at October 31, 2005 10:36 PM

What everyone seems to be forgetting in this squeaky clean scenario is that the baby the wife is carrying might not actually be her husband's. This happens all the time in the suburbs--it actually happened to my evangelical Christian, extremely conservative, lyin', cheatin', thrice married twin brother when he was having an affair with a married woman in the workplace. Careful what you wish for.

Also, the best way to avoid the scenario Attila refers to in the original post is, erm, to not have intercourse with the opposite sex. Gay relationships would probably be a much better bet.

Posted by: bliss66 at November 1, 2005 04:05 AM

Doesn't matter whether the kid is the husband's or not -- if he is married the kid is his. That is what he signed up for when he got married. He made a bad choice, sure, but it was his choice, and he has to live with it.

Don't like that reality? Well, adultery is grounds for a divorce. Move out the moment you learn your wife is cheating on the marriage and file. But if you were so sonomulant or so clueless that the first hint you get is when wifey gets preggers by someone else -- well that kid is yours, whatever else you do.

And angry as a spouse can make a partner -- or an ex-spouse makes an ex-partner -- there is a special corner in Hell for someone who makes the kids of the marriage the victims or weapons of a fight with the spouse. You (or your spouse) made a bad choice? Well, that is a shame, but the kids are innocent bystanders, and both partners have an obligation to treat them right.

If you cannot live with that, why then you should not bother getting or being married.

Posted by: Mark L at November 1, 2005 07:01 AM

Bliss: the PA law specifically included an exemption for women whose husbands were not the fathers of the child. (Also for women in abusive relationships.)

Mark: Fair enough. But what about when the two parties aren't married? As things stand, the rule is "I make the choice, and then you either are--or are not--on the hook for the next 18 years." Is there something slightly off about that?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 08:39 AM

I'd prefer Thomito too. What a laff riot that would be. "What's this pubic hair doing on my coke can?" Imagine two guys on the Supreme Court with that kind of kinky wit.

Oh yeah just an aside, since you were mentioning RU47, did you know that the Christian Taliban is lobbying against making available a vaccine for genital herpes? Did you know that genital herpes leads to cervical cancer which kills thousands of women every year? So much for the culture of life. I guess their rational is that such a vaccine would make it harder to argue that sex causes cancer in abstinence-only sex-education classes. These people are truly a bunch of sex-hating killjoys.

Posted by: Randy at November 1, 2005 08:52 AM

I see your point in regards to male responsibility. A woman decieving a male and tricking him into fathering a baby is one of the bogeyman of the "male rights" movement.

There is something to this if this behavior can be established. But there is the problem of failed birth control and certainly a woman so devious could make it appear this is what happened.

My sympathies for the male rights guys is kind of low because they seem to be the kind of men who pair up with this kind of woman well into middle age. After a certain amount of time one learns that taking time to feel out and learn the other person is a basic survibval necessity. One can be polygamous in behavior, with no interest in long term "relationship" bt just getting a sense of that person and some basic trust is essential. There are a lot of fractured people around and if you mess with them fo hormones you not only have a moral failure on your ledger, you have potential long term consequences because they can't let go.

Sensually the emotional and intellectual play becomes a key part of the process as one evolves. So one does potentially wind up with a far richer erotic life by middle age. And there are a lage number of things that can give sexual delight without pregnancy causing choices. Certainly delay and bilding up the anticipation is one of these things, which again involves knowing.

I do agree that if there was a documented agreement and it was proven that the woman volated it then the man might be held irresponsible. I disagree that such an agreement can demand an abortion as a slution. I fully believe in the legality of abortions, but peoples reactions to them happens at many deep levels. A woman who thinks she's cool with the process may find she isn't just as a woman who think she opposes it might under despration have it done and never look back. There are certain remedies that can't be demanded and abortion is one.

It is a personal choice.

Although it isalways imperfectly done society does have a duty or at least a very, very strong interest in looking out for the interests of the next generation. As with all responsibilities this sometimes imposing unequal and even "unfair" burdens. A male who choses to have sex with a potentially fertile woman assumes these responsibilities. He can instead chose a vasectomy, an alternative set of sexual pleasures or intercourse with post menapausal women.

Personally I think the later would be quite useful for immature males. Certainly I and many others were inexperienced while pretending to know it all, insecure and this bossy and trying to clumsily figure out the ways of women often relying on male invented cliches. At best ridiculous and at tiimes rather ugly. Someone able to guide us and look upon us with some perspective might have been better than the equally, but differently insecure women we imposed ourselves upon.

Posted by: david at November 1, 2005 11:40 AM

Setting aside the whole "who pays for the kid?" argument, the spousal notification law strikes me, again, as an example the law forbidding the rich, as well as the poor, from stealing bread and sleeping under bridges.

A woman in an abusive relationship will very likely not have the luxury of wandering out, getting a lawyer, getting a judge's order to allow for an abortion, and then getting said abortion, all without said abusive husband noticing that nothing is going one. (Abusive spouses tend to be paranoid, and paranoids notice things.) This assumes, of course, that they can convince the judge that they really are in an abusive relationship, and the judge doesn't decide that his person views on abortion aren't going to creep into the decision just a little bit. It's insane to think that a poor woman in an abusive relationship is going to go through that, rather than just get an illegal abortion.

Posted by: Christophe at November 1, 2005 01:02 PM

David: I think you and I agree about a lot: in particular, that each gender has burdens specific to it, and there is no way the State can wave any kind of magic wand and make those burdens go away. When it comes to heterosexual intercourse, "let the buyer beware." Naturally, I identify with young women and would want to caution them to be careful; your focus would be on warning men of their own perils. That's all to the good.

Randy: Do you have a citation for your contention that some SoCons are trying to thwart a vaccine for genital herpes? By the way, you might want to educate yourself on the difference between herpes and HPV before you start proclaiming that herpes causes cervical cancer.

And--by all means make fun of Thomas. I take it you aren't a cancer sufferer in California who cannot keep food down without taking some marijuana. Good for you.

Christophe: I must admit that this is the reason parental notification laws make me squeamish: most people don't realize what it's like to be a powerless teenager, and if parents do not establish a trusting relationship with the kid, I'm not so sure they are entitled to hear about the girl's abortion.

Of course, I've been told that all the girl has to do in this situation is to confide in her social worker that she's afraid of her parents. Are you sure it isn't the same situation with an abused wife? Doesn't the social worker really make the call?

Furthermore, I rather overstated the reach of Alito's ruling in my post: he was merely asserting that PA was entitled to have its own law in this regard.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 01:18 PM

We do agree on the issue of mutual responsibility. I was responding heavily to the "male rights" vision of women tricking men into pregnancy then making them pay.

I think overall "both" sides in our society are increasingly choosing a blame the other.

The MacDonald's coffee comes to mind. McDonalds kept it's coffee hotter than is normal because it wanted it to remain hot through a 15 minute ride. There had been several burn cases before and simple statistics say if a million people a day buy a beverage some will spill.

So what part of "you're going to scald people if you keep your coffee 20 degrees higher than the competition" did MacDonalds not understand?

Yet the case was distiorted and the traditional lower payments on appeal ignored by the right who wished to discredit trial lawyers.

As a somewhat traditional male I becme suspicious of claims that particular situations are unfair to males. Yes there are distortions in the system, but this whole "we are victims of victims" Limpbowel dittohead thing is old. It continues even as the right has achieved power. I do expect distortions and unfairness in societr, I think they should be looked at and corected. But for the most part they are only overwhelming the babies at least among white middle class males who seem to be doing more than their fair share of whining.

As a general rule I would give them the same advice they used blacks and Jews, stop having such a thin skin and lighten up.

I would agree given past actions the state probably has a right to require informing the husband or parents of abortions. I do not think however if th state does not give that husband that priviledge that it isn't particularly unfair. He went into that marriage and was probably responsible for that degree of alienation.

And children are always going to be an unbalanced issue. We as a society must make some efforts for their nurturing and future. Inded there is evidence that we are distorting things the other way. But to the extent that we withhold this age old function it is going to give "advantages" to the women because they do all the bearing and currently most of the rearing.

At one point traditional "manhood" assumed a unfair burden as part of it's being, a sign of strength. We have hopefully since learned to realize the often greater strength and sacrifice of traditional womanhood and honor it. These are parts of evolving as a human being.

And kind of uncooridinated and not well placed into argument I feel that the alleged conservatives who spout responsibility and the like are usually actually practicing another game of me firstness.

As a middle class white male I do think that I can afford to give extra slack and resources and slack to women, minorities and others who have traditinally payed more and got less. This does not mean that I agree with all the proposals or even the general gist of the groups that claim to represent these interests. But I don't get particularly angry about it and strive to have enough self control to understand slurs on "dead white males" etc. I have certainly pursuded dialogue with enough of these people to know that most of them are relatively reasonable once one gets past the cliches.

If at times they are ridiclous and strident so are the dittoheads. The thing is that there is this unwritten rule on the right that other groups are not supposed to be irrational or offensive TO THEM (as though these people had not observed any social grouping from best friends to family on up) and that any evidence of imperfection is a sign of failure to take responsibility.

Fine. However "responsibility" is not dwelling on how inferior these people are, but finding ways to ariculate and approach problems. If someone is behaving childishly the correct response is to ignore them or perhaps to firmly and calmly rebuke them, then go on.

I believe that despite "politica correctness" or whatever bogeyman this society is inherantly more fair than my grandparents and certainly their ancestors could imagine. Yet those who claim to havev done well by it's rules, many socalled conservatives are continually bitter and want to make all political discussion a lament of how they are abused by liberals and victims and all the rest.

I think there are a number of things in the new social/sexual dynamic we are working at which are skewed, but certainly on balance it has benefited me and most men who sincerely want deeper contact with women. And yes we are all confused,. This is direct wandering through the big issues on being, the differences of nature and nurture,the alteration of old institutions into the new.

And I know that some males have been ripped to shreds by aspects of this and can't help being bitter, but most often when I see a situation claimed to be "unfair" to men it is dubious just like many of the claims of the left. People identifying with their resentments and letting them define their lives.

I think by historical terms things are pretty darn fair for people like me.

End of rant.

Posted by: david at November 1, 2005 02:56 PM

Bliss: My little Gedankenversuch included the improbable notion that the father-husband knew he was the father.

Mark, to illustrate your point, my brother-in-law allowed a pregnant women to move in with him (with proiveleges). when the baby was born, he took his tyurn at all the baby tasks. When she moved out a few months later, she sued him for child support and won(!) becasaue the court ruled that his taking care of the baby was de facto acceptance of his role as father despite bood tests ruling him out as biological father. The woman would not allow him to ave any role in the girl's life, although he paid child support for 23 years. In fact, he went to court to seek some fatherhood rights, but was denied even visitation because, the court ruled, he wasn't the child's biological father. He saw her exactly once, at age 12, after her mother moved out. The opnly other contact she ever had with him was when, at age 21, she wrote him a letter saying that she needed money, and that her mother suggested she ask him.

Attila, the "all the heavy lifting" argument doesn't apply here becasue the father's proposed actions prevent the heavy lifting.

The problem here, stated by many, is that responsibility is forced uypon someone without any rights, not even the right to czrry out the responsibilities in some cases. Here, the law would recognize that the father has some responsibility for the unborn baby, and grants what is really a very minor right to be informed about that which he has the responsibility. The actual right is tiny, granting only the right to be informed about the elective killing of that baby for which he is responsible. The law might presume that such an informed father might be able to have some input in those cases, but makes no requirements in that regard.

And we DO expect fathers to protect their unborn babies. A father who forces his wife toimbibe substances known to be toxic for the baby will likely be presecuted. To take another hypothetical, if a third party were to try to force the mother to have an abortion, we would expect the father to defend the baby.

Our society is often criticized by Muslims with being concerned with only one of the "three R's." We usually in America focus only on rights with regard to our political life, ignoring reponsibilities and relationships. Here it is reversed. Responsibilitis are imposed by law without the rights, e4ven to carry out the responsibilities, and with no regard to relationships.

It is a part of the illogical deadends we have allowed our split politics on abortion to leqad us into. For instance, we now prosecute a woman who uses cxocaine durintg a pregnancy for "harming a fetus," say, but if that same woman aborts the baby, she goes free. The message is clear: if you might harm the baby by something you plan to do, better legally to go ahead and kill it.

I'm not sure anyone wanted to lead us to this position.

Posted by: Averroes at November 1, 2005 03:16 PM

Hi, there,

Yes, that's correct, Alito did not specifically rule on the policy of parental/spousal notification. One can argue (as I would) that they create such a chilling effect on the exercise of a right that they amount to an unconstitutional restriction on that right. That's what the Supremes decided in that case, and I think they got it right that time.

I'm not clear on the text of the PA law, and it's a bit hard to find, being moot. Not all parental notification laws require just a social worker, however, and not all spousal notification laws would, either.

The problem I have with spousal and parental notification is that the purpose of the law is so clearly at odds with reality. The idea is, thus notified, the party notified will sit down with the person who wishes to have an abortion and have a nice, long reasonable talk about all of the options, and will reach a consensus on how to move forward in a compassionate way.

And if that could happen, if the person whose abortion is being discussed had that kind of relationship with the person being notified, it would have. A law cannot create a loving, supportive family or marriage if one doesn't exist, and it certainly can't do it at a crisis point like a decision on whether or not to have an abortion.

When Alito gets confirmed (and I bet he will be, regardless of my feelings on the matter), we are in for a wild ride on the subject of abortion. If I really believed that the end goal was defederalizing the right to abortion, I wouldn't be happy about it, but I'd at least know that, in California, it would be safe. But that's not the social conservatives end goal; the end goal is to federalize restrictions against abortion. If Gonzales vs. Oregon goes against Oregon, how long do you think it will take before doctors are threatened with having their DEA licenses pulled for performing abortions?

Posted by: Christophe at November 1, 2005 03:40 PM

Oh, right, and on the social conservative / HPV vaccine issue:


Posted by: Christophe at November 1, 2005 03:51 PM

Okey-doke. But don't fall into the trap of conflating extreme SoCons with legal conservatives. For people like me, the paramount thing is to reverse the trend of having SCOTUS act as a superlegislature.

After all, there are many people who are very strongly against abortion--in a way I cannot bring myself to be--but still didn't support Miers, despite all the coded messages that she'd vote to overturn Roe v. Wade; they, like I, wanted someone who would arrive at his/her decisions for the correct reasons.

There are plenty of conservatives who do not want issues like gay marriage federalized, and do want abortion defederalized. (With the possible exception of partial-birth abortion, which many see as infanticide.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 04:13 PM

I understand that the FRC is not the Federalist Society, yes. :-) But the SoCons were the issue in the HPV discussion above.

If, for example, Gonzales v. Oregon goes against Oregon, we have stated categorically that the Federal Government has the power to regulate the practice of medicine to any level of detail it wishes. Given the decision in Gonzales v. Raich, we're half way there already. (And, yes, Thomas and Rehnquist dissented in Raich, but I don't think that Roberts and Alito can be guaranteed to vote the same way.)

I can find common ground with legal conservatives on many issues (I think Originalists have rocks in their head, but hey, the law brings out strong opinions in everyone). SoCons... well, not so much.

Posted by: Christophe at November 1, 2005 04:24 PM

And, one more thing: there is a huge difference between being a teenager and being an adult woman. When you are a teenager in a dysfunctional home, any time the police stop you for any reason they can (and probably will) take you back to that home.

As a minor, you are powerless in a way that no adult is. You are mistrusted. The adults around you judge whether you are a "good child" or not on the basis of the grades you make in school; if your grades are not good, you are not worthy of help from the outside world. Society looks upon you with suspicion, and there are no resources for you--at least, not if your home address is in the suburbs.

There are no safe houses for teenagers. In fact, it would be illegal to run such things.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 04:26 PM

No argument that there is a huge difference between being a teenager and being an adult. Absolutely.

That being said, I think that the underlying argument against spousal and parental notification is the same: It's attempting to engineer something in a private relationship that the state cannot engineer by fiat.

Posted by: Christophe at November 1, 2005 04:36 PM

I'd love to see the vaccine produced and distributed, but it sounds like most of the problems in getting it accepted lie outside the U.S./UK mainstream (despite their one--count them, one!--quotation from a FRC person who thinks the vaccine isn't a good idea).

I still believe, however, that the frontline in the cervical cancer battle is women getting their pap smears on a regular basis. I realize that, theoretically, we wouldn't need pelvic exams quite so often if we were immunized against HPV, but there are other reproductive cancers/disorders that need to be screened for, so a vaccine might backfire WRT other diseases.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 04:38 PM

I didn't comment on notification. i do so now, if anyone cares.

let's start with the easy case, oarental notification. As parents, we have a responsibility to oversee our children's health care. To this end, the law requires parentws tobe notified before children undergo medical procedures.

The law recognizes exceptions. in some cases, emergency care may proceed without notification. If a teen is emancipated, no notification is required. If the parental rights have been terminated, no notification is required.

The question is why we should not include one particular medical proceduree in this model?

The argument is often that while a child may not have a "right" to obtain elective medical procedures without parental consent, they do have such a right with regard to abortion. I've never heard any support for this view.

Another argument is that if we make this law, then some poor child will not be able to get an abortion they truly need. The makers of this argument often descend into emotional images of beaten children.

But we normally make laws for the usual case, and then make room for exceptions. We do this without arguming that becaseu there may be excepotions to the law, we should hnot have it at all.

For instance, we generally criminalize intentionally killing other people. We make exceptions for self defense. We don't argue that becasue such a law may discourage self defense, that we should not, therefore, criminalize intentional killing.

So, the model here is to gove parents the tools to carry out just those responsibilities which we require of them by law, while making exceptions for cases where following the law would be detrimental to the child. Most of those cases occur when the parent is not carrying out their responsibilities anyway. To those who argue that such mechanisms to bypass the law may not be available to all who need them, i challenge you to find a way to make them available, both by supporting laws which do so, and by personally making them available. Put your money where your mouth isw, instead of relying on government.

I won't argue the now moot Penn'a law, except to note there that the father's responsibility is to his child, as yet unborn. Surely we can allow the tiny right of notidfication in a case that involves something that we otherwise hold him responsible for. Certainly, to take another hypothetical, we would expect a father to oppose the forceful taking of his wife by a third party to force her to undergo an abortion.
And we would expect him to take action to prevent a mother from harming an unborn child.

As for the argument that such laws may have a chilling effect on children or wives seeking abortions, I waited in vain for the expected argument as to why that is, in general, a bad thing.

Posted by: Averroes at November 1, 2005 07:13 PM

Wives, yes. Chilling effect is just fine. Chill away. Wives are adults, and they have responsibilities to their husbands. The state, here, is simply enforcing an implied contractual obligation.

Teenagers, I'm not so sure. Again: if you want your child to come to you when she's in trouble (any sort of trouble; I'm not just using that phrase in the old-fashioned way), it behooves you to foster communication. Once more: children do not have the same resources at their command that adults have. They are at their parents' mercy, and deserve greater protection.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 1, 2005 11:29 PM

First of all, this is about HUSBAND notification, not spousal notification -- there are no instances where a wife has to be notified by a husband if he wants to obtain a medical procedure (such as a vasectomy, maybe?).

Second, if the prospective father's rights are so important, why doesn't the law require the woman to notify the FATHER, rather than the HUSBAND? Or in the case of lesbians, the lesbian partner (being the putative parent, who will likely have to pay child support if they split up)?

Without those factors being taken into consideration, this is obviously all about HUSBANDS having control over their WIVES, rather than anything to do with the prospective child.

In addition, mothers cannot sign away the right to child support -- child support is the child's right, not the mother's. Even if the mother agrees not to take any child support, when the child becomes aware of his or her rights, he or she can SUE the father for back-support, despite any agreement not to do so by the mother.

Posted by: rebmarks at November 2, 2005 06:54 AM

The state, here, is simply enforcing an implied contractual obligation.

What obligation is that, and how does a spousal notification law enforce it?

Posted by: Christophe at November 2, 2005 07:38 AM

Christophe: To, you know--tell our spouses about important stuff.

Rebmarks: Between adults, telling someone you are going to do something is not the same as giving the brute "control" over that action. And, sorry: there are jurisdictions wherein married people who want vasectomies or tubal ligations do need to get signed forms from their spouses.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 2, 2005 02:21 PM

Attila Girl:

What I said applies to marriage -- which is a voluntary partnership between two people. As far as an unmarried situation, well . . .

1. Alito was writing an opinion about spousal notification, not live-in notification.

2. Different rule apply to unmarried relations-- including the fact that the burden of proof is on the mother to prove who the father is.

3. First rule in Life's Little Rule Book: Life isn't fair. Second rule: When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.

Outside of that, my feeling is that if a couple produce a kid outside of marriage, they really should get married to each other and work on producing a stable home for their child. And they should do this even if a) it upsets the life plans of either or both partners; b) the other person isn't your "soul mate;" and c) you think marriage ain't really your "thing." Once kids come into the picture it's not about the parents any more. Its about giving the kids what *they* deserve, even if that means the adults have to sacrifice their pleasures. But today's narcissistic society feels that the immediate wants of the adults are more important than that of the vicitims of their selfishness -- helpless children.

Now there are exceptions. If one of the two parents are druggies, drunks, philanderers or physically abusive, then marriage is a poor idea -- except maybe if the father is *really* willing to step up to his responsiblity to a kid he engendered, and marry an abusive woman in order to set the basis for custody in a future divorce (keeping in mind the premise that you do what is what is in the best interest of the child, and your object is to protect your child from a potentially dangerous parent). But if your partner *is* a drug user, physically abusive, an alcoholic, or a philanderer . . . what *were* you thinking in the first place when you hopped in the sack?

Posted by: Mark L at November 2, 2005 02:35 PM

"Mmmmm . . . . sex."

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 2, 2005 03:17 PM

Attila, i wonder if you are willing to take your position on parental notification to its logical conclusion.

All that is necessary is to relive the parents of responsibility for a chi;ld's health care.

If said child wantyed to have, say, a breast enlargement or an elective double mastect0omy, then you would say, to be consistent, that there should be no law requiring notification of the aprents, on the notion, i think, that the relationship[ may be less than ideal.

I would rather keep the parental notification for EVERY medical procedure, including abortion, becasue i see no difference between that medical procedure and any other. I would leave it up to the medical biz to provide ways for a child in a bad situation to receive care when notification of parents is inappropriate.

Before we got so legalistic, doctors made such judgments routinely.

You position suffers from the notion that just when it comes to abortion, but for no other procedurte, we should consider a female child to be a female adult, and leave that child with the option of allowing the parents to carry out their responsibilities as upheld by law in most jurisdictions.

of course, you could simply make the more libertarian argument that the government should have NO intervention in family affairs. for instance, as in a case here in oregon, that the government should not intervene to force a diabetic child to undergo insulin therapy when such a medical intervention was against her parents' religious beliefs, and also against her will. (I throw this in becasue i heard rtumblings of this positin in the comments above.)

Posted by: Averroes at November 2, 2005 05:07 PM

Er--let me say this another way.

It seems to me that the problems which may arise with any law requiring parental notification in the case of a child's medical procedure caan arise for any such procedure, and are not secondary to abortion only, or in and of itself, but have to do with the nature of the relationship between the parent(s) and child. The logical approach is to make allowance for dysfunctional families across the spectrum of medical procedures.

I suspecgt that the call for EXCLUSION of parental notification (at the child's choice) for one medical procedure alone has more to do with a position on that procedure than it does with some great concern for children.

Posted by: Averroes at November 2, 2005 05:18 PM


There are many responsibilities and obligations that come with legal marriage that don't require separate contractual papers -- ie support, medical decisions, privileged communications (similar to doctor/patient, lawyer/client). The responsibilities to the legal issue of a couple are fairly well covered in the law, too. Before "no fault" divorce, one or the other spouse needed to show a "breaking" of the marital contract either by fraud, adultery or cruelty. Certainly, a husband has no right to veto a wife's decision either to abortion or birth, however, the majority of people do believe in notification because they recognize the inherent unfairness in any conspiracy to keep one partner in the dark about such an important issue.

I would put this in the same realm as a doctor notifying a wife if the husband has tested positive for AIDS and he refuses to tell her himself.

Posted by: Darleen at November 2, 2005 05:58 PM

Averroes: What you're generally going to get from me is a militant defense of teenagers, since I feel they are treated rather badly in society.

But bear in mind that when I had my abortion I was 19, and my mother was very pro-abortion. But I still didn't want to tell her, because I didn't want the emotional abuse I knew I'd be facing--and at a rather tender time.

I'll concede that I can support parental notification if the exceptions are easily available to kids whose parents are abusive--but you're not going to get a lot of intellectual detachment from me on this issue. Sorry.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 2, 2005 06:09 PM

Attila Girl -- Having checked the web, you are not the only one to have mentioned that there are laws in some states requiring notification of the wife before a husband can have a vasectomy. If this is the case, I stand corrected. However, I would love to have some citations, because I haven't found them yet. Where some men remember being told they were required to notify their wife, it's possible that that was merely a requirement of the doctor or clinic, and in no way mandatory under the law. Again, if I'm wrong, I'd love to know for sure. And even if such laws exist, I suspect that they have never been tested and might be found unconstitutional. If anyone out there has any info on this, I'd love to know!

Posted by: rebmarks at November 2, 2005 06:41 PM


There might not be spousal notification laws (that I can find anyway) but,

There is a 30 day waiting period on any federally funded vasectomy (veterans hospitals, medicare/medicaid, etc) and you must be at least 21 years of age.

Most clinics have a 30 day waiting period. Many insurance companies require one too.

In Virginia, if you are childless, you are required to wait 30 days before you have one.

In North Carolina there is a mandatory 30 day waiting period, as do most other states.

At least up until 2002, Oregon required a COURT ORDER to get sterilized, it seems (I presume this includes vasectomy, but I don't really know for sure and am not sure if it is still in effect):


Under New York state law, you cannot have a vasectomy if you are less than 21 years of age.

So while I don't find a 'spousal notification' law in any state (although I have heard a couple states do actually have one, and it wouldnt surprise me in the least) in general it is VERY hard to get a vasectomy if you are unmarried/childless in many states. Many doctors/clinics simply refuse to do it, especially if you are under around 35 or so years of age and have no children. Many doctors also refuse to do it without spousal notification/consent.

A lot of this is because of the Eugenics/forced sterilization programs of the early 19th century, I gather.

Posted by: Buddy at November 2, 2005 07:06 PM

Attila, the subject is NOT abortion, but precisely about parental notification on medical procedures request4ed by their children. Your abortion occurred when you were not a children.

I am not asking in particular for any intellectual detatchment, although that would be nice, but rather whether you simply apply your arguments across the board, to any medical procedure.

Posted by: Averroes at November 2, 2005 08:32 PM

Hey, I know when I became a legal adult. (And I know when I became an emotional adult--it was about two weeks ago . . .)

Seriously--my mentioning the age at which I had my abortion has the tangential relevance of illustrating (I hope) that I'm really fucking damned lucky the pregnancy didn't occur when I was 16 or 17. I would have been torn up pretty badly.

And my answer is obvious: hell, no. Do I need to spell out for you why some people feel much differently about their daughters having abortions vs. appendectomies? Do you really need an explanation of why that might be?

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 2, 2005 09:32 PM

Attila -- Thanks for your rundown of various state laws re: vasectomies. My point still stands. There are no laws requiring a husband to notify a wife of a vasectomy. Waiting periods are a whole 'nuther story which I won't debate here (having to do with how onerous they are given the situation etc.).

The point is, I believe that couples absolutely should discuss these issues and come to these decisions together. And the vast majority of couples do. And the vast majority of providers counsel women to do so. However, it is Big Brotherish and creepy for the GOVERNMENT to insert itself in this private matter in this way and REQUIRE it.

If a woman does not discuss this with her spouse, then the marriage is obviously unhealthy, and no amount of government interference is going to make it healthy. Women who believe that life begins at conception, or that abortion is a crime, would not be taking this step without a whole lot of angsting about it. In fact, I don't know any women who don't angst about this decision for a long time, before and after, no matter what their views of abortion are... But if they don't discuss it with their husband, they must think have a good reason, don't you think? Do you really want the government legislating your conversations with your spouse?

And why the hell aren't there vasectomy-notification laws? My husband, to whom I'm bound for life, deliberately denies me the right to have children without my knowing it?? He is deliberately causing his sperm to die and be re-absorbed into his body and he doesn't have to tell me? I am submitting to sex with him on a regular basis while praying to have a child, and he's shooting blanks? Why hasn't the government stepped in here? Shouldn't I have legal rights here? I suspect that there are those who would be thrilled for the government to require a woman to notify her husband about her decision to tie her tubes, but refrain from going forward precisely because they know it would be impossible to argue that a vasectomy should be exempt.

And by the way, I am not opposed to a law that would require PROVIDERS to bring up the topic (for those of you out there who think women are incapable of thinking of this on their own). But the ultimate decision of what married couples say to each other is nobody else's business, and the government should stay the hell out of my bedroom.

I just had an interesting thought. I understand that this law is difficult if not impossible to enforce, because it's so difficult to prove. And why would that be? Maybe because in a criminal case, spousal privilege would deny the government the right to question the husband about what his wife said to him?? See, our ancient laws protecting the sanctity of marriages are based on KEEPING THE GOVERNMENT OUT. You start legislating what a husband and wife say to each other and where does it end?

Posted by: rebmarks at November 3, 2005 04:20 AM

Sorry, should have said "thank you" to Buddy, not Attila. Too early for me, not enough coffee...

Posted by: rebmarks at November 3, 2005 06:21 AM

Actually, in the PA law that Alito found to be legal, all that was required was for the woman to sign a sheet of paper that indicated either 1) she had told her husband, or 2) one of the exemptions applied to her. No muss, no fuss.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 3, 2005 08:06 AM

Well, Attila, if your were damned lucky thqat our pregnancy didn't occur at age `16, i'll just have to take your word for it. i'm not sure you wanted to hand pout that information. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

I think you are approaching this from the wrong end. it doesn't matter what the parents think about the procedure. parents may think the same way about almost any procedure. I gave you a case, real, where the parents didn't want a child to have insulin therapy for juvenile diabetis. I believe, on no particular evidence that more parents would object to a teenage daughter getting a prophylactic double mastectomy than would object to an abortin. (I bring this example because i know two women, sister, who had this done in their twenties.)

The question is: when should ANY procedure be domne without parental notification? I'm wondering if the experience of being pregnant makes a child more adult-like, and presumptively able to make decisions without the presumption of the need for parental notification, which wouldn't be the case for a child's request for, say, a non-emergency appendectomy.

Note that i am not arguing here for their never being a case of an abortion (or any other medical procedure) without parental notification. I'm wondering what is special about abortion. I'm wondering why theie is a presumption that if this is chosen by a child, it must be the right choice, and the child must be protected from aa parent knowing about it presumptively.

As for parents feeling mucyh diffrently about it compared to other procedures, are you saying that if a child wants a procedure that a parent is likely to be opposed to, then that porocedure should not have a notification law? how would gender reassignment fit in here?

Posted by: Averroes at November 3, 2005 08:06 AM

Christophe: To, you know--tell our spouses about important stuff.

Well, I'm in favor of doing that, but less in favor of a law telling me I have to. The spousal notification argument, construed as enforcing an implied contract, ends up in weird places like criminalizing adultery that I am rather glad we've left behind.

And, Darleen, while I agree it might well be unfair to keep another party in the dark about this, I do not believe it is the role of the state to make sure that marriages are always perfect good and fair. It is interesting, to follow a line of reasoning above, that the only sitatuion which the Pennsylvania seems to be concerned about this fairness is abortion.

Anyway, the real topic here it Alito and his nomination to the bench. In the PA case (and thanks, Atilla, for mailing me that link), while I agree with the appeals court and the Supremes, Alito's decision wasn't idiotic. Reaosnable people can disagree about what an "undue burden" is, and his opinion wasn't out in orbit.

Alito doesn't strike me as either a SoCon true believer or an Originalist wingnut, which are the two things I would least like to see on the court right now.

I am concerned that he will be very sympathetic to the King in Wartime theory of the executive (which is both utterly against just about everything that we like to think American government is about, and horrible public policy rolled up in one taste treat sensation). I'm also concerned that he will follow the Scalia line of reasoning that the legislature will be happy to tell accused criminals what rights they have and don't have.

But I certainly cannot produce a smoking gun that demonstrates either attitude on his part. If I were a political advisor to the Democrats (and thank goodness I'm not), I'd recommend that they keep their powder dry on this one.

Posted by: Christophe at November 3, 2005 10:32 AM

Well, Attila, if your were damned lucky thqat [sic] our [sic] pregnancy didn't occur at age `16 [sic], i'll just have to take your word for it. i'm not sure you wanted to hand pout [sic] that information.

Sure. I'm openly discussing my abortion, and yet you feel I might be squeamish about admitting that I was sexually active as a teenager.

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

What are you sorry about? That unpleasant whiff of judgementalism in your comment?

I think you are approaching this from the wrong end. it doesn't matter what the parents think about the procedure. parents may think the same way about almost any procedure.

They may, but the need for an abortion implies pregnancy, which implies sexual activity, which the vast majority of parents are very twitchy about with respect to their own kids.

I gave you a case, real, where the parents didn't want a child to have insulin therapy for juvenile diabetis.

I don't see the analogy: as I understand that case, the child also does not want the therapy.

I believe, on no particular evidence that more parents would object to a teenage daughter getting a prophylactic double mastectomy than would object to an abortin. (I bring this example because i know two women, sister, who had this done in their twenties.)

Ah--you know someone who did this. That would make it common, no?

As for parents feeling mucyh [sic] diffrently [sic] about it compared to other procedures, are you saying that if a child wants a procedure that a parent is likely to be opposed to, then that porocedure [sic] should not have a notification law?

No, I'm not. I'm saying the thought of their own kids having sex makes some parents crazy, and makes the teenagers in question suceptible to abuse.

Like, for instance, the parents might cop the same sort of judgement about their daughters that you did about me in your comment above. Only, of course, with a good deal more intensity.

how would gender reassignment fit in here?

N/A. It takes years to get that type of procedure done. First there's all the therapy, and then the hormone shots. Finally, one has to cross-live for a full year before the procedure can be performed. By then, your teenager is 18.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 3, 2005 12:06 PM

My, my. there was no judgment in that comment.

i should get my 19 y/o daughter to tell you.

While I didn't do this, I used to correspond with a lady in the Netherlands who told me that when her daughter became 13, she put a box of cponcoms in the bathroom, and made sure they were kept in stock, no questions asked.

Of ourse, I do not think it is ODD that a parent might have concerns about his child becoming pregnant. That isn't the point. I also believe that abusive parents may indeed be abusive shen a daughter becomes pregnant, and we shold have a mechanism to help that child outside of the parental relationship, that help mayor may not include abortion. But you seem to have the notion that perfectly ordinary, non-abusive parents (in your world, both of them) will suddenly seroconvert into rabidly abusive parents at the notion of pregnancy.

The fact is that pregnancy is one consequence of sexual relations. It is serious. parents SHOULD have a serious reaction. And they should be able to exercise the responsibilities we ask them to exercise unless there is some reason to exclude them from doing so.

btw, while I never got pregnant as a child, I did plenty of other things that my poarents more than frwoned upon, and, at times, it prompted what i called at the time abusive behaviour. i didn't even tyhink that i would get out of it becasuse, well, yua' jknow, a lot of aprents get really upset when their kid.....

btw, I have a great problem getting these old foingers to type out the right keys, and I am blind enough to have to put my coke bottles up to the screen to read what i (or you) type. Some people have found my mistypings inconvenient enough to ask me not to post there, which i always honor.

That being said, I think y0ur making fun of an old, arthritic, nearly blind man is just [sic].

Posted by: Averroes at November 3, 2005 04:51 PM

I'm sorry. I thought you just didn't care. Obviously, I don't know your age or physical condition. Also, I was very pissed. I apologize.

I do believe that there are parents who think of themselves as permissive and "liberal" whose attitudes alter radically when their own daughters become sexually active.

And I think I warned you that this was a bit of a hot button issue for me.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 3, 2005 05:01 PM

Geez, reb

Do ya think the government should keep out of marital relationships when a husband or wife is hiding assets during a divorce?

How about a spouse who tests positive for AIDS and refuses to tell the other?

First and foremost, marriage is a LEGAL contract with specific and implied obligations. When one party defaults on the other, who can the aggrieved party rely on to be made whole?

The tooth fairy?

Posted by: Darleen at November 3, 2005 10:25 PM

Note that i am not arguing here for their never being a case of an abortion (or any other medical procedure) without parental notification. I'm wondering what is special about abortion. I'm wondering why theie is a presumption that if this is chosen by a child, it must be the right choice, and the child must be protected from aa parent knowing about it presumptively.

Abortion is different from most other medical procedures because it involves a combination of sex and time limits.

A lot of teenagers are immature, and tend to put off unpleasent things - like admitting to mom and dad that they're having sex. If you know that you need to have "the talk" with mom and dad before you can get an abortion, the result will be putting off the abortion for months.

There are several problems associated with a law that has the effect of causing teenagers to have later abortions. First, the later in pregnancy an abortion happens, the more expensive and difficult the abortion is, and the more likely the patient is to suffer difficulties. So parental notification laws are bad for health.

Second of all, some teens, due to having to notify parents, will put things off until an abortion is no longer possible - meaning that they're more likely to become a teen single mother.

Now, you may say "so what? What's wrong with a baby being born?" Nothing - but the issue isn't if that teen will become a mother. The vast majority of teens who get abortions do become mothers someday; the question is when. Should they have a baby at 16, or should they have a baby at 26?

From society's point of view, we're far better off, on average, if she has the baby at 26. A woman who has a baby at 16 is unlikely to ever graduate from college, isn't likely to marry, and is likely to be poor. Her child is likely to suffer the problems associated with single parenthood and with poverty. And chances are a single mom at 16 will need more help from the taxpayers.

So that's two problems with parental notification laws: they encourage girls to either delay until abortions are more costly to their health, or to delay until abortion is no longer an option, causing them to become unwed teen moms.

A third problem is that the results of an abortion - and, especially, of NOT having an abortion - will be with the girl long, long after she's become a legal adult. When parents refuse to allow a 17 year old to have an abortion, the result is a 20 year old stuck with a 3 year old child; a 25 year old stuck with an 8 year old child; and so on. The consequences of the abortion decision are far greater and long-lasting than the consequences of (say) a nose job; it's unfair to allow the parents to decide for a 17 year old that she'll spend the next 18 years being responsible for her own child. She's the one who will be legally accountable for being a parent; it's just to allow her to make the decision.

Posted by: ampersand at November 3, 2005 11:11 PM

I agree with some of what you say here, but your final formulation seems a little bit shallow: after all, society doesn't encourage adoptions. If it did, would there be more adoptions? Could the girl enjoy years of periodic contact with her biological child, and enjoy having this person in her life until she got old enough to raise her own? This can be a special relationship, akin to being an aunt.

But we don't talk about it much. Society mostly presumes that the pain of placing a child for adoption is greater than the pain of living with the aftermath of an abortion. I'm not so sure we're on the right track, there. Color me skeptical.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 3, 2005 11:25 PM

Geez, Darleen,

Exactly my point --

"Do ya think the government should keep out of marital relationships when a husband or wife is hiding assets during a divorce?"

That's when the marriage is in the process of being dissolved, not during the pendency of the marriage -- there are NO laws that require a spouse to inform another spouse about their assets DURING THE MARRIAGE, nor would we want the government sticking their noses into our private business in that way. However, in order to ensure that the newly-single get their fair share of the assets, they are obligated to disclose to each other. If they change their minds and continue with the marriage, they never have to disclose -- the law ASSUMES that married couples deal with each other fairly, but does not make that assumption when the marriage is being legally dissolved.

"How about a spouse who tests positive for AIDS and refuses to tell the other?"

Actually, there are no laws requiring one spouse to notify the other. And I may be wrong on this (please let me know with some citations if I am) but I think that the law PREVENTS the government or health-care workers from informing someone else, even your spouse, about your HIV status. Which is why you get those great story-lines on shows like "ER" where the doctors are wrestling with the moral issues involved, and "accidently" slip the information to the clueless spouse.

Any more examples?

Posted by: rebmarks at November 4, 2005 04:13 AM

aaargh I really should make sure to have some coffee before I start spouting off...

Ok, more recent law (1998, I believe) requires spousal notification (and indeed, all partner notification, not just spouses) of HIV status. But that's because HIV directly affects the health status of the partner, and, being communicable, HIV is a public health crisis. Unlike abortion, which is not communicable, and which does not result in death or serious health implications to the spouse.

Posted by: rebmarks at November 4, 2005 04:27 AM

Unless, of course, the man finds out afterward, had desperately wanted a child, and is shattered.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 4, 2005 10:33 AM

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K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats

Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
Right Wing News

Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


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