Bench Memos


Already this morning, I’ve heard a lefty on FNC scary viewers with abortion: Alito ruled that a woman needs her husband’s consent for an abortion. It was part of the Casey vs. Planned Parenthood case in 1991 and it was notification (vs. consent). And all Alito did was say the Pennsylvania law was constitutional, as I, layman, understand it.

The provision, if fact, reads:

(a) SPOUSAL NOTICE REQUIRED.–In order to further the Commonwealth’s interest in promoting the integrity of the marital relationship and to protect a spouse’s interests in having children within marriage and in protecting the prenatal life of that spouse’s child, no physician shall perform an abortion on a married woman, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c), unless he or she has received a signed statement, which need not be notarized, from the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed, that she has notified her spouse that she is about to undergo an abortion. The statement shall bear a notice that any false statement made therein is punishable by law.

(b) EXCEPTIONS.–The statement certifying that the notice required by subsection (a) has been given need not be furnished where the woman provides the physician a signed statement certifying at least one of the following:

(1) Her spouse is not the father of the child.

(2) Her spouse, after diligent effort, could not be located.

(3) The pregnancy is a result of spousal sexual assault as described in section 3128 (relating to spousal sexual assault), which has been reported to a law enforcement agency having the requisite jurisdiction.

(4) The woman has reason to believe that the furnishing of notice to her spouse is likely to result in the infliction of bodily injury upon her by her spouse or by another individual.

Such statements need not be notarized, but shall bear a notice that any false statements made therein are punishable by law.

(c) MEDICAL EMERGENCY.–The requirements of subsection (a) shall not apply in the case of a medical emergency.

. . .

(e) PENALTY; CIVIL ACTION.– Any physician who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of “unprofessional conduct,” and his or her license for the practice of medicine and surgery shall be subject to suspension or revocation. . . . In addition, any physician who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be civilly liable to the spouse who is the father of the aborted child for any damages caused thereby and for punitive damages in the amount of $ 5,000, and the court shall award a prevailing plaintiff a reasonable attorney fee as part of costs.

So it is a Halloween trick when someone tries to tell you today that Alito wants abused women to go crawling to their wifebeater-wearing husbands for permission…

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