Telling husband and Alito
mae.kuykendall at law.msu.edu
Fri Nov 4 12:14:58 PST 2005
The discussion of the spousal notification law and its exceptions has been puzzling. Who or what is the law aimed at? If most married women talk to their husbands about pregnancy and some do not but are exempt because they fear violence, what is the imagined circumstance in which the law plays a constructive role? Is it the case of the law-abiding woman who is pregnant with someone else's child, despite possible laws barring adultery, and tells her husband because the law says she must? Having committed adultery, would she then hesitate to attest that she fears her husband's violent reaction even if he is the mildest of men?
It seems like a law most likely to harm the most vulnerable woman and not to affect the conduct at all of the least scrupulous. Putting aside the privacy (and autonomy) issue, is there constitutional analysis to address a law that affects only a handful of the most vulnerable people, and in those cases, inflicts harm--i.e., is there a principle opposed to weirdly perverse laws that are a little bit rational at best?
>>> "Volokh, Eugene" <VOLOKH at law.ucla.edu> 11/4/2005 2:54:50 PM >>>
(1) If it's the milkman's child, then wouldn't the woman have
been *exempted* from Pennsylvania's spousal notification law?
(2) I very much sympathize with women who fear that telling the
husband about an abortion will lead to violence against them -- which is
why, as I understand it, the Pennsylvania law exempted them, too. But
do women have a constitutional right to conceal evidence of their
infidelity from their husband, when the risk (as Calvin hypothesizes) is
that the husband would demand a divorce? That seems like a much less
sympathetic scenario (though, as I mentioned, not one implicated by the
Pennsylvania law, which I believe exempted this situation).
> -----Original Message-----
> From: conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu
> [mailto:conlawprof-bounces at lists.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Calvin Johnson
> Sent: Friday, November 04, 2005 11:46 AM
> To: Jonathan Miller; CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
> Subject: Telling husband and Alito
> A Wife who does not tell her husband that she is having
> an abortion is indeed taking an important step. She would do
> that only for very very good reasons. Maybe the child is the
> milkman's child, and H could figure that out, and yet she
> would like to stay within the marriage relatioinship and
> raise H And W's 5 kids together with H.
> Telling H would end it. In Godfather, Kay ultimately told
> Michael she
> had had an abortion (not a miscarriage) because she could
> not stand the thought of having his child. She was very very
> lucky to get out of that announcement alive.
> Calvin H. Johnson
> Andrews & Kurth Centennial Professor of Law
> The University of Texas School of Law
> 727 E. Dean Keeton (26th) St.
> Austin, TX 78705
> (512) 232-1306 (voice)
> FAX: (512) 232-2399
> Website: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/cvs/chj7107_cv.pdf
> For reviews, chapters, discounts and news on Johnson,
> Righteous Anger at the Wicked States: The Meaning of the
> Founders Constitution (Cambridge University Press 2005) see
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