How long do you think it will be before conservative Christians are calling for laws requiring women to notify spouses before they can get an abortion? Or even notify the father before they can get an abortion? It probably won't be very long at all - Republican political candidates are already being given questionnaires asking questions about this.
Keeping Women Quiet
Such requirements might sound extreme, but they aren't too extreme for anti-choice activists. It wasn't that along ago that conservative Republican politicians mostly agreed that even though they said they wanted to ban abortion, they still wanted to have exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother. That's gone now.
Then there are all the invasive ultrasounds and other medical procedures that conservative Christians want to impose on women before they can be allowed to obtain an abortion. These measures are all part of a massive increase in the number of restrictions on abortions that Republican legislators have introduced on both the state and federal levels over the past couple of years.
Anti-abortion state lawmakers have tried all manner of new laws to limit access to abortion in the past few years: mandatory ultrasounds, 72 hour waiting periods, scare-mongering mandatory scripts, and strict building codes, just to name a few.
But Robin Marty at RH Reality Check flags another potential new tactic: mandatory spousal notification. The National Pro-Life Alliance (NPLA) sent a questionnaire to candidates for the Kansas legislature, which Huffington Post obtained. Included in the 11 questions, most of which have become fairly typical anti-abortion fare, is this:
Will you support legislation giving spouses the right to be notified and intervene before any abortion is performed on the couple's baby?
Source: Mother Jones
I think most will agree that it's probably best if a woman can discuss this sort of thing with her spouse. Note that I say "can," rather than "does." If she can, hopefully she does, but if she can't then the state shouldn't be telling her to do so anyway. The reason is that if she can, it's because the relationship is strong enough and good enough; if she can't, there are deeper problems that aren't good for anyone involved.
Spousal notification requirements aren't about "protecting life" and are another piece of evidence that the "pro-life" movement is really an "anti-choice" movement. Spousal notification requirements only serve the goal of reducing the status and power of women relative to men. They enforce the idea that women aren't full adults because it treats them like children who shouldn't be allowed to make choices about their own bodies on their own.
You don't see anyone proposing spousal notification laws for men getting vasectomies or Viagra, do you?
And it's only to be expected that such laws are coming out of America's conservative Christian communities because that's how they view women: as second-class citizens who aren't fully adults and as needing to be treated like children. These laws may not directly enforce conservative Christian dogmas, but they embody the view of women held by conservative religious believers around the world.