Tuesday, November 08, 2005

should vs. must: spousal notification in brief

scalito's nomination is throwing all sorts of moral quandaries into the air, not the least of which is whether the law should force a woman to tell her husband she's getting an abortion.

my favorite angry professor has a discussion going on here.

her basic argument is:
And, as with abortion, there seems to be a sloppy elision of what people think is morally obligatory with what they think is, or should be, legally obligatory.

So. Should married women tell their husbands if they're going to have an abortion?
Yes, of course they should.

Should they be required by law to do so?
No, of course they shouldn't.

i'm trying to get to a larger question, but i think i'm too tired at the end of the day to be articulate. so i'll just let that stand there.


greg said...

I suppose it's on par with "should a married man tell his wife that he has had an affair with another woman"? Of course he should. Should he be legally obligated to do so? What do you married guys out there have to say on the subject? Keeping in mind that by having the affair, you may have contracted AIDS, which you may now have passed on to your wife. Should you be thrown in jail if your affair comes to light?

ding said...

exactly. i don't like the idea of a legal system poking itself into marital communication.

a lawyer i was reading made the argument that notification laws place an undue burden on exactly the population that needs protection most - married women in fear of their husbands, adolescents who have no responsible adult to notify. for the rest of us who are fortunate enough to have lives, partners or families full of open communication, it really doesn't affect us that much.

so it makes me wonder, what's spousal notification really all about?