For several months I've had a worry, one of those that at first seems mad but won't, over time, go away: Sometime in the foreseeable future, anti-abortion forces will make another run at the surgeon general, seeking a warning that abortion is hazardous to women's health. Abortion-rights supporters will be horrified. It is, we will say, not true; science matters, and the science to support the warning is not there. Besides, the anti-abortionists already tried this and lost.
The Right Not to Choose TAP talks to prominent anti-abortion lawyer Harold Cassidy. In 1987, Harold Cassidy was the lawyer for Mary Beth Whitehead, a surrogate mother who had contracted to give up a child for adoption and then changed her mind. This was the famous "Baby M case." Years later, he is a prominent lawyer in the anti-abortion movement, and says he is again fighting for the rights of mothers -- but this time he is working on behalf of women who say they were harmed by abortion. He has cases pending in New Jersey, South Dakota, and Illinois, all based on the notion that a woman is so ill informed about what an abortion is, and so pressured by outside forces to abort, that she needs special protections from Harold Cassidy and from the state.
NEW PATERNALISM. I finally reached my friend and coauthor Reva Siegel, who has long seen in her crystal ball up at Yale Law School what only appeared to the rest of the world in yesterday�s �partial birth� opinion from SCOTUS: that the anti-abortion movement reframed its arguments against abortion in ways that seem to protect women while in fact actually constraining them. This is a key new turn in the anti-abortion strategy: to argue that women are natural mothers who would not naturally choose abortion, and therefore need protection from the option.
South Dakota voters may have overturned the state's abortion ban last year, but the fight over a companion piece of extreme anti-choice legislation, passed in the same period as the ban, is raging in the courts. On Wednesday, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments on whether to allow South Dakota's draconian informed consent law to go into effect.
When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex Since the Sixties by Kristin Luker (Norton, 416 pages, $25.95)
From a parent's point of view, it's easy to see how sex education would be a disaster: How can a teacher standing in front of 30 embarrassed pubescent boys and girls do justice to the complicated and personal issues around sex?