Americans Would Back Spousal Notification on Abortion Like Alito Did

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 4, 2005   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Americans Would Back Spousal Notification on Abortion Like Alito Did Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 4, 2005

Washington, DC ( — Whether a woman should notify her husband about a planned abortion has become a key argument in the debate over the Supreme Court nomination of Samuel Alito. Public opinion polls show Americans strongly support the idea, which Alito upheld in a 1991 appeals court decision.

The Supreme Court may have rejected Alito’s views upholding a Pennsylvania law requiring spousal notification on abortion. Yet, as recently as January 2003, a Gallup Poll found 72 percent of those surveyed favor the idea.

Meanwhile, a new poll conducted by the Washington-based Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, also finds more than 70 percent of Americans support the notion of not leaving husbands out of the abortion decision-making process.

His abortion views are leading some strident abortion advocates in the Senate to call for a filibuster of his nomination when the Senate takes it up in January.

"Judge Alito’s views are not only out of the mainstream; I would characterize them as radical," Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, a Democrat from New York, told the Washington Times. "His nomination literally tips the scales of justice against women on this court."

Slaughter said Judge Alito is a "clear and present danger to the rights of women in America."

Rep. Lynn Woolsey, a California Democrat, chimed in as well and said Alito’s opinion about spousal notification "takes us right back to the 1950s."

"It’s not ‘Leave It to Beaver’ anymore," Slaughter told the Times. "This man’s thinking goes back — well, I don’t know — way back into the 20th century, but maybe to the 19th."

But Connie Mackey, vice president of the Family Research Council, points to the polls and said, "You talk about being out of the mainstream; these ladies are the sisters of doom."

"They are completely outside the mainstream," she added.

Slaughter and other abortion advocates are also accusing Alito of sympathizing with wife beaters by saying a wife would need permission from her husband for an abortion even if she was sexually abused. However, the Pennsylvania law Alito supported contained exceptions for such situations.