by Steven Ertelt
November 7, 2005
Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — A leading abortion advocate is being taken to task over comments against Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito that erroneously discuss a pro-life Pennsylvania law he voted to uphold as a member of a federal appeals court.
Shortly after President Bush named Alito to serve on the high court, former NARAL president Kate Michelman said the Pennsylvania law would have subjected her to an embarrassing situation where she would have had to notify her husband, who had abandoned her, about her abortion.
"More than 30 years ago," she said, "as a young Pennsylvania mother of three daughters who discovered I was pregnant after being abandoned by my husband, I made the difficult personal decision to have an abortion."
She added that she faced "humiliation" under what was then Pennsylvania law.
"I would be required to obtain the permission of the man who had deserted me and my family."
No so, says nationally syndicated columnist Bob Novak, who looked into the Pennsylvania law’s requirements.
Michelman’s comments "raised the prospect of women chasing after a deserting spouse, desperately trying to find him in order to fulfill notification requirements," Novak said.
"In fact, the Pennsylvania law in question would have exempted Michelman from spousal notification in such a situation," he explained.
Bashing Alito on voting to uphold the law in 1991, Michelman said, "Roe v. Wade emancipated women from the humiliation endured. Judge Samuel Alito voted to return us to it."
However, Novak explains, "Michelman did not disclose the exemptions to spousal notification. As an abortion-seeking woman searching for the husband who has abandoned her, she would only have had to provide a signed (not notarized) statement that ‘her spouse, after diligent effort, could not be located.’"
Abortion advocates also attacked Alito by claiming he supported a law that would have subjected wives to abuse from violent husbands.
However, a woman seeking an abortion who was married to an abusive husband could have exempted herself from the spousal notification requirement if she had "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."
Novak says abortion advocates are attacking Alito because they don’t want him to replace outgoing pro-abortion Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. He could become the fourth vote to overturn Roe and would likely uphold laws limiting abortions that O’Connor would vote to overturn.