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Friday, September 3, 2021

Some Rational Thought on Texas and Abortion

So, right now many people are in a meltdown over the abortion law passed in Texas and the recent Supreme Court decision refusing to block it from going into enforcement. You can read the text of the bill here, but I thought I would bring some rationality to this discussion.

First, let me tell you where I come from the issue so you can be aware of any biases. I think Roe v. Wade is a terrible decision. Whatever you think of abortion, the notion that the founders were attempting to say anything about abortion is simply false. That means that it should have been treated as part of the ordinary political process and, frankly, left to states to figure out. Seriously, read the opinion. It is unpersuasive claptrap. It admits that through American history legislatures have regulated abortion, and concludes from it that it is not up to the legislatures, which makes almost no sense. So my preferred outcome is to see this case and its progeny thrown into the dustbin of history.

I would talk about what I think politically should happen but because my position is different from around 90% of people on both sides, it would take a long blog post to lay it out and I don't want to get bogged down in doing that. I will simply say that I favor an approach that ensures that no sentient being is ever killed, unless it is truly necessary (such as physical danger to the mother) and leave it at that.

Second, let me preface this by saying this is not legal advice. I am a lawyer, but I am not your lawyer. If you are seeking to enforce this law or are concerned you might have this law enforced against you, you should seek out your own lawyer. The purpose of this discussion is to educate you about the law because we the people are the ultimate sovereigns of this country and our decisions about policy should be as informed as practical.

With all that out of the way, let's untangle this a bit, mostly by paraphrasing objections I have been hearing and addressing them, one-by-one.

1. This law overturns Roe v. Wade!

First, Roe v. Wade is actually not quite good law right now. I glossed over this when I talked about Roe and its progeny above, but in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 decision, the Supreme Court by a plurality upheld the core of Roe by saying there was a right to abortion, but changed it to the "viability standard" (meaning when the fetus can live outside of the womb) instead of the three trimester approach of Roe. It took me the longest time to understand why they went for the viability standard because the logic is so counter-intuitive and it just isn't explained well in the opinion. The logic appears to be that in theory at that point, a fetus could be removed from the mother and live, so in theory a woman who wants an abortion can just have a medical procedure to just give birth early and give the kid away to adoptive parents.

Which is crazy, because that literally isn't done. No one is ever told, "we won't give you an abortion, but we will take the kid out and try to raise him or her without you." I've talked to health professionals about this and they verified what I suspected: they would never do this.

But the point is that this is the actual rule right now and that appears to be the logic behind it, such as it is. And it means that far from being a rule that can never change, it is in fact a rule that has changed. Indeed, if viability is the standard, we might anticipate that this might eventually make abortion obsolete. In Lois McMaster Bujold's Sci-Fi novel Barrayar, she imagines that someday all unwanted pregnancies would be transferred to artificial wombs. That technology might be a long way off (though they kind of have that for sheep already), but it seems likely to become a reality eventually and, when it does, then even the Supreme Court lineup that handed down Casey is likely to uphold all restrictions on abortion. But that could be hundreds of years in the future.

And the other point about talking about Casey is to make the point that if upholding restrictions greater than allowed under Roe means Roe is overturned, then Roe was overturned in 1991 by Casey. But if you maintain that Roe was still the law of the land on January 1, 2021, then it isn't necessary to overturn Roe to uphold this law. It might simply be modified, just as it was in Casey.

Again, I am writing this as a person who would like to any claim there is a constitutional right to abortion to be gone from our legal system. But I know better than to say this is definitely what the ultimate outcome will be.  Frankly, I am not sure the Supreme Court has the nerve to do it.

2. But wasn't the Texas law upheld? I heard it was upheld.

Well, it wasn't. You can read the opinion above yourself but let me summarize. They said, in short, even if the law is unconstitutional, it is not clear that an injunction is the right remedy, for it, so they can't block the statute.

But let me back up for a moment. What we are talking about, really, is whether to grant a preliminary injunction--that is, an injunction before a full trial where both sides get a chance to be heard. You see, normally, an injunction is only supposed to be granted after you have a full hearing on the facts and the law, giving both sides a full an fair opportunity to defend their positions. But that might take months and the law recognizes that sometimes in life, you just don't have time for that. So basically you an get a preliminary injunction after a truncated process if you are facing a situation where you or your rights are going to be irreparably harmed, and the court finds you are likely to succeed in the ultimate case as well as other requirements. Then if the preliminary injunction is granted, you go forward until you have that full hearing and the court decides whether to grant a permanent injunction.

To illustrate, let's pick a radical example. Imagine the College Board, which runs the SAT, announced that from then on they were not going to give the test to black people. Yes, a pretty outlandish hypothetical, but let's pretend just to illustrate. And imagine this was done a month before the next exam, which is the last available date for the scores to be ready in time for timely application to a particular college that requires the SAT for admission. Well, then a black potential applicant could sue the College Board for racial discrimination and seek a preliminary injunction. The court would probably schedule the hearing about a week or two before the test and probably grant it because 1) obviously the black applicant would be likely to win in the case as a whole, and 2) he would be harmed irreparably because it would probably push him back to the next application season. Mind you there are other parts of the test for injunctions that have to be met, but that case would probably meet those requirements, too.

In this case, the Supreme Court said that even if this law is unconstitutional, because it has an unusual enforcement mechanism its not clear that the remedy that was being sought is the right one. But that requires me to talk about the law n more detail.

3. Yeah, I heard that this law criminalizes women.

You heard wrong.

But I heard this was a really strange new remedy unheard of in the law.

Well, not completely unheard of. Allow me to explain.

First, this law has no criminal enforcement provisions, period. So no one is being criminalized, at all.

What it does is say that if a woman gets an abortion made illegal under this law or a person intends to provide or aid and abet abortions made illegal under this law, then any citizen can bring a civil suit against anyone but the woman who actually gets the relevant abortion for performing or aiding and abetting the performance of an abortion. If that plaintiff prevails, then the court must issue an injunction to prevent it in the future and the plaintiff gets $10,000 per abortion performed. It is not clear that the financial liability goes beyond the persons performing it or to the people who merely aid and abet it. Furthermore, the plaintiff gets attorney's fees and court costs if he or she prevails--but not the defendant.

So in essence it makes people afraid of being sued. Further, while the law does not create a criminal remedy, if an injunction is issued that injunction is typically enforced threats of incarceration and the like. I mean, to give you an example, when Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his Letter from a Birmingham Jail, he had been arrested for violating an injunction.

Second, this is not completely unprecedented in law or even American law. It is true that in most civil suits the claim is "this person committed an unlawful act and harmed me." That's not required here. You don't have to have been harmed at all.

But there is an entire kind of civil suit that works very similarly to this: Qui Tam actions. It is short for the latin phrase "qui tam pro domino rege quam pro se ipso in hac parte sequitur" which means "he who sues in this matter for the king as well as for himself." As that all suggests, this goes back to English common law. In America, naturally the government is substituted for the king.

The most common use of this cause of action under Federal False Claims Act alleging more or less that someone committed fraud against the government. Now, there are a lot of subtleties in the law, but if you as a private citizen become aware of fraud committed against the federal government, you can sue on behalf of the government and if you win, you literally get a percentage of the winnings. These are often called whistleblower suits.

Of course, one pretty huge difference is that in False Claims Act cases at least, the government can intervene and take over the case. Indeed, the government can intervene, take over the case, and then dismiss the case, leaving the whistleblower empty-handed. But none of that can happen here, because under this statute state officials are officially prohibited from filing these suits. So where Qui Tam is you acting on behalf of the government when the government chooses not to act, its hard to argue that you are acting on behalf of the government when they can't act. But I am not convinced this difference matters.

So while it is fair to call it unusual, its not completely unprecedented. I've never heard of an approach that cuts out the state like I just described, but otherwise this seems pretty similar to that kind of Qui Tam action.

4. So this means that a plaintiff an file a frivolous suit, and, even if he or she loses, they don't have to pay attorneys fees?

I have seen a few people make that complaint about the attorneys fees and court costs provision--where only the plaintiff can recover those costs and prevail--as being unfair to potential defendants. I have also seen people suggest that people file frivolous suits accusing the lawmakers who voted for this of aiding and abetting abortions without any knowledge of whether or not they did just as a tactic to try to drain their bank accounts. However, any frivolous suit might run afoul of Rule 13, in Texas' Rules of Civil Procedure which is similar to Federal Rule 11, which states in relevant part that:

The signatures of attorneys or parties constitute a certificate by them that they have read the pleading, motion, or other paper; that to the best of their knowledge, information, and belief formed after reasonable inquiry the instrument is not groundless and brought in bad faith or groundless and brought for the purpose of harassment. Attorneys or parties who shall bring a fictitious suit as an experiment to get an opinion of the court, or who shall file any fictitious pleading in a cause for such a purpose, or shall make statements in pleading which they know to be groundless and false, for the purpose of securing a delay of the trial of the cause, shall be held guilty of a contempt. If a pleading, motion or other paper is signed in violation of this rule, the court, upon motion or upon its own initiative, after notice and hearing, shall impose an appropriate sanction available under Rule 215-2b, upon the person who signed it, a represented party, or both.

I believe every American jurisdiction has a version of this and they are not dependent on who ultimately prevails, so it is not typically seen as being superseded by a prevailing party rule. So anyone filing a frivolous suit as a plaintiff runs a risk of sanctions which typically include attorneys fees and court costs.

5. So why does all this create a problem in providing a remedy?

Well, injunctions are issued against people (remembering that in law, a person can be an organization such as a corporation). An injunction is an order to or not do an act. Like in my SAT example above, the order probably would read something like "Defendant shall administer the SAT to the Plaintiff under the same conditions as any white applicant on [insert date]." So who do you enjoin to stop this abortion law? Every person in the State of Texas? Hell, people who don't live in Texas can theoretically file suit in Texas as long as Texas has jurisdiction over the claim (in other words, as long as the abortion happened or will happen in Texas), so I guess you'd have to enjoin everyone on earth, or something.

6. Why not enjoin the courts of Texas from allowing any of these lawsuits?

Actually that appears to be the original idea of the Plaintiffs in this case. I found what appears to be their original Complaint and suggests that clerks in Texas courts be enjoined as well as judges. And actually I agree that this should be available as a remedy when the constitution is violated. I mean a few years ago, my First Amendment rights were pretty egregiously violated by a state judge and basically the courts have said I can't get compensation for that violation. If a cop had arrested me in violation of the First Amendment (at least if it was this egregious), I could sue that cop and his superiors, but not a judge because, frankly, judges protect other judges.

The view the courts typically have is that if a case is filed where the theory of the case violates the constitution itself, the solution is to dismiss the case. So imagine if a John sues Dave because he truthfully called him a thief, claiming that it is illegal to hurt a person's feelings with admittedly truthful statements. Well, that case would be bounced very quickly from the courts on First Amendment grounds--even if some statute purported to make that a crime--and in the view of the courts, no harm is done to the defendants.

And if you don't mind me getting up on a soapbox for a moment, this gets to one of the biggest blind spots the courts have. To the courts and many lawyers, the initiation of a lawsuit is just an ordinary event. But to many defendants, being sued is an upsetting event. No matter how facially frivolous these lawsuits are, they cause upset and often cost the defendant thousands of dollars they aren't getting back. People and companies will often settle patently frivolous lawsuits just to make them go away, rewarding the worst behavior in our society.

It reminds me a bit of a surprisingly good line in a bad movie. In Street Fighter, the evil dictator M. Bison, played brilliantly by the late Raul Julia, tells a woman he doesn't remember meeting her. She is flabbergasted and tells him about he came to her village and committed atrocities. He tells her "For you; The day Bison graced your village was the most important day in your life. But for me... it was Tuesday."

That lawsuit filed against you can feel like the most important day of your life, but for a judge it was Tuesday. And judges should try harder to remember that for many defendants its not just a Tuesday--to recognize and be sensitive to the harm even filing suit can cause.

But, getting off that soapbox, whatever you think the law should be, that is not currently what it is. And the plaintiffs in this case had to show that they were likely to succeed on the merits and, frankly, they were not. I cannot say the courts are likely to enjoin every court clerk in Texas or anything like that. It might happen, but it is not likely.

7. Did the state of Texas just do this to frustrate constitutional challenges?

I think so. I haven't heard a better explanation and I can't think of one. I mean, normally when you want to stop people from killing a person, you make it a crime and you throw people in prison or, in Texas, execute them (God bless them). You don't create a civil action out of it.

So we are rewarding Texas for these shenanigans?

In some sense, but the case isn't over. Right now the parties are fighting over a preliminary injunction.  So presumably the district court will be allowed to go through the case and after a full opportunity to explore any relevant facts (I wouldn't be surprised if there is live testimony about fetal development, for instance, with dueling experts and so on) and a full briefing on the law, the judge might find that there is a permanent, normal injunction he or she can issue. And probably whatever happens, it will go to the Fifth Circuit (the mid-level court of appeals), and maybe it will even be taken up by the Supreme Court. At the end of the process we will see whether an injunction of some kind is issued and if it is upheld, then that might be the end of that.

But let's say that somehow the result is the Federal Courts saying they can't issue this kind of injunction even if they want to. That's not the end of potential federal involvement. For starters, you might see a case filed in Federal Court trying to enforce this law (state civil suits can be filed in federal court if its between citizens of different states). Further if a case is filed in state court, and damages or an injunction is awarded for an abortion, and that decision survives the state appeals system, then the Supreme Court can hear that appeal and decide whether to overturn it. This doesn't mean the law automatically survives in the long run. It just can't be stopped as quickly as the pro-choice side wants.

8. But if no injunction issues, who would be brave enough to risk that kind of suit?

Actually, some people intentionally break laws just so they can challenge their constitutionality. For instance, if you dig into the history of U.S. v. Eichman, it becomes pretty clear that the defendant only burned a U.S. Flag so he could challenge an anti-flag-burning statute on First Amendment grounds. It admittedly takes some courage to do that and risk prison, but I wouldn't be surprised if a doctor in Texas announces he or she is going to defy the law on the hope of creating a challenge to it, if that hasn't happened already. I mean it wouldn't be just Tuesday to him or her, but there are people who will stand up for it. Agree with the law or not, but I have no doubt someone will intentionally break it or at least announce they intend to, in order to challenge it.

9. But I was told this law is really ridiculous, it could even be applied to a taxi driver who is taking a woman to a clinic!

Right, there are a number of alleged readings, usually by lawyers who don't practice very much or at all, who try to argue that the concept of aiding and abetting reaches out to wholly innocent conduct.

First, let's discuss a less charged hypothetical. Let's suppose a man hires a taxi to go the bank and then, once there, robs the bank. Is that aiding and abetting? Well, it depends. If all the driver understood was that he was driving a person to the bank, that is not aiding and abetting. I mean, there are many legal reasons to go to a bank.

In this statute, you are required to be knowingly aiding and abetting. And since this law doesn't purport to punish all abortions, even knowingly driving a person to an abortion clinic is not enough. Indeed, even if the driver knows the woman is going to an abortion clinic and knows she's eight months pregnant and the baby even is kicking on the way there, you can't say he or she knows she is about to get an illegal abortion--she might only being going there to accompany a friend who is getting a legal abortion, for all the driver knows.

10. But the statute says it applies "regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter." Doesn't mean that our hypothetical taxi driver could get in trouble just for unknowingly driving a person to be sued just for driving a woman somewhere, not knowing she was going to get an abortion?

A number of people have made this assertion, but I think the most logical reading of the law is literally the opposite. Let's start with fuller language of the section. It says that there is liability to any person

knowingly engages in conduct that aids or abets the performance or inducement of an abortion, including paying for or reimbursing the costs of an abortion through insurance or otherwise, if the abortion is performed or induced in violation of this subchapter, regardless of whether the person knew or should have known that the abortion would be performed or induced in violation of this subchapter

Now, first this is not the model of good statutory writing, but "knew or should have known" is the standard for negligence, and I read this as saying that this is not the standard to apply--instead, its a knowing standard. And of course, there is a long-standing tradition that statutory interpretation avoids absurd results and avoids strict liability. Its absurd to say that a taxi driver is liable when he or she has no idea what the person is going to the abortion clinic for, or if he or she is going to have an illegal abortion.

Furthermore, its an affirmative defense if you "reasonably believed, after conducting a reasonable investigation, that the physician performing or inducing the abortion had complied or would comply with this subchapter." So a concerned Taxi driver could simply say to my hypothetical pregnant passenger I mentioned above "you aren't going to get an abortion, are you?"--and if she says "no," or "yes, but only to protect my safety" that probably shields the person entirely.

Finally, even if this part or another assigns liability for behavior that the court finds can't constitutionally give rise to liability, that part can be struck down and severed from the rest--that is, the rest of the law remains in effect as if the unconstitutional parts never existed. The statute is actually very explicit on this point.

10. So this is vigilantism? The statute is vigilantism!

No, by definition vigilantism is done outside of the law. Pretty much by definition, filing a lawsuit is not vigilantism, even if the cause of action is abusive. There are many things wrong with abusive lawsuits but "vigilantism" isn't one of them.

11. But this is putting bounties on women!

Well, first the women who have abortions are exempted from coverage by this law, as laid out above. As in, you can't go after a woman for her abortion, only for the abortions she performs or helps others to perform on others.

Second, while in the broadest sense you can argue it is a bounty, it really is pretty far outside of what you normally think of when you talk about bounties. Dog the Bounty Hunter is not going to be busting into anyone's house and taking custody of anyone. It's just a person filing a suit.

12. So, after six weeks, if a woman gets an abortion, everyone who helped her might be sued...

Actually, about that six weeks...

Wait, you're saying I'm misinformed about that, too?

It's a subtlety people seem to be glossing over, but its not really six weeks. Its actually a requirement that the doctor take various steps to make sure there isn't yet a heartbeat. If there is one, no abortion can be performed. If there isn't, the abortion is legal, even if we are talking eight months in. That's why I mentioned the baby kicking in my hypothetical--because I'm pretty sure that can't happen without a heartbeat. (Mind you, I'm not a doctor, I'm just being logical.) A little googling says that this can be as early as 3-4 weeks after conception or 5-6 weeks since the last period. I have no idea if that is right, but for what its worth. So I'm not quite sure where the six weeks figure is coming from, but not quite what the law says.

13. This terrible! This makes us into Gilead, the country from the Handmaiden's Tale. This makes Texas into a Soviet Republic!

Yes, dear reader, people are actually saying this sort of thing. If that's how you feel, you're entitled to feel that way, but I think that is a hard position to maintain. The fact is abortion could be fully banned with no exceptions before 1973 when Roe came down. Were we Gilead or a Soviet Republic before then?

14. This is undemocratic!

Well, in fact this law was passed by the Texas legislature. More broadly, if the Supreme Court there is no longer a right to abortion, the most likely outcome is to say that this is left up to the democratic process like most issues. That is more democratic than leaving it up to some people in robes. 

Not everything that you think is a bad idea is unconstitutional.

Of course you are free to reject every word of that, but I will also say this. The worst thing about Roe is that it damaged the idea of an independent judiciary that is above politics. The opinion in Roe is obvious bullshit. The issue of abortion just wasn't something the founders thought about very much, and to the extent that they indicated any thinking on the subject, they generally thought it could be regulated.

In Dartmouth College v. Woodward, the Supreme Court asked whether school charters were contracts in the meaning of the contract clause under Art. I Section 10 of the Constitution, writing:

It is not enough to say, that this particular case was not in the mind of the convention, when the article was framed, nor of the American people, when it was adopted. It is necessary to go further, and to say that, had this particular case been suggested, the language would have been so varied, as to exclude it, or it would have been made a special exception. The *case being within the words of the rule, must be within its operation [*645 likewise, unless there be something in the literal construction, so obviously absurd or mischievous, or repugnant to the general spirit of the instrument, as to justify those who expound the constitution in making it an exception.

I think that approach is a little too permissive to "judicial creativity" but it fails even that expansive approach. Like if you zapped back in time to when Congress was writing the Bill of Rights and sending them to the states and you said, "oh good, now abortion is a federal right," they would think you were a crazy person. If you could convince them that this was how the Supreme Court would read that language around two hundred years later, they would have rewritten it to avoid it--most likely to leave the issue up to the democratic process.. And you could say the same thing about the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

So its obvious bullshit, and it gives lie to any claim that the Supreme Court is above politics.

And as we saw in Bush v. Gore, we need an institution that is above politics. We need an institution we can go to in a dispute that can decide things with credibility, not as partisans but simply following the rules. I remember being at Yale Law School during that controversy and hearing people complain that they didn't believe the conservatives were following the constitution, and saying something like:

I don't agree that they aren't following the constitution, but if you think they aren't... well, what the hell did you expect? This school is ground zero for the philosophy that judges should ignore the actual law and seek instead outcomes you like. Well, once you let that genie out of the bottle, then a judge might disregard the law and seek an outcome they like, but you hate.

I kept things interesting there.

In any case, if democracy is your concern, you shouldn't be farming our policy about to nine unelected justices.

15. This means women are no longer full citizens under the law.

First, prior to this, the Supreme Court has blessed many restrictions on abortion, even since Roe and Roe itself explicitly endorsed many restrictions on abortion. Did those make women second class citizens? You're entitled to think so, but I don't think that is sustainable.

Second, what you have to understand--even if you don't agree with it--is that to these people abortion is murder. If you think abortion is murder, then why should women get a special privilege to murder another just because that person is in the womb? If you can imagine yourself subscribing to that worldview, it would actually be giving women a privilege to murder men never have.

What women are seeking, then, is similar to a disability accommodation. I don't write that negatively--I am a disabled person, and that SAT hypothetical I wrote above was based on a lawsuit I had to file in real life, only the discrimination was based on disability and the test was the LSAT. But if you look at it like a sought after disability accommodation, I think that sheds some light.

Sometimes in law, a general, neutral rule impacts someone--sometimes an entire group--differently than the general population. For instance, I know a guy who is deaf and reads lips and speaks. Throughout his entire life he had never lived on his own. He lived with his family until college, he lived with a roommate in college, and married while in college to the love of his life. And she died about two years ago, and suddenly he was on his own, for the first time in his life. And as tough as that was, then the Wuhan Flu hit and suddenly people were required by law to mask up. So he's trying to navigate a hearing world and suddenly he can't read anyone's lips. Yet most of the time when there are mask mandates, people act like there are no costs. Well, there are costs and they are not evenly distributed. It is one of the reasons why I oppose mask mandates--because it screws over deaf people who can read lips like my friend. Masks do some good, but their costs to outweigh the benefits.

Obviously biology put the costs of child bearing on women to a much greater degree than men. I mean every time a man says to me, about him and his wife, "we are having a baby," I correct him. "No, she's having a baby. She's doing the heavy lifting. You're just trying to help." And I get that for women, the fear is that men are not properly accounting for the costs women bear. I mean I wish women who can legally abort would consider adoption more as an option, but I recognize that even just carrying a child to term and giving it away is a burden.

(Now, you could turn that around and say "why are women like disabled people in this? Men are unable to have babies. That sounds more like a disability to me!" And that is fair, but the reason why I draw the metaphor to disability regards to child bearing is two fold. First, while a woman is carrying the child is often literally unable to do many of the things she normally does. And second, because there is no obvious cost to being unable to have children yourself (except perhaps psychologically), but there is a cost to women having children.)

So I get in a deep way the suspicion women have about this, but in all frankness, they need to stop seeing things in a paranoid manner. The men are not conspiring to make women into sex slaves or some nonsense no more than the governors who impose mask mandates conspiring to screw over deaf people. The people--which includes many women--who don't want abortion to be available on demand simply believe that the fetus is a human being with value. And if you understand that--even if you don't agree with it--the pro-life position makes much more sense than some Handmaiden fever dream.

16. Does this mean that a fetus in America is an American citizen? Does this mean that you can't deport an immigrant who got pregnant in America until she gives birth?

Now, you might also ask: "wait, no one is actually saying that." In fact, Charliss Chatman, an associate professor at Washington and Lee Law School asked pretty much exactly that. Read for yourself.

And the Fourteenth Amendment answers this question: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” (emphasis added). Your birthright citizenship depends on where you are born.

17. But if an unborn person is not a citizen, then they have no rights!

Actually I see this mistake with regards to many rights and on both sides of the aisle. But the constitution is very clear that while citizens have some special rights, all persons have rights, regardless of whether they are citizens. For instance, in the same fourteenth amendment "persons"--not citizens--are guaranteed  the right to life, liberty and property, and it says the state cannot deprive you of those rights without due process of law.

18. Does this mean that if a man gets a woman pregnant, he has to support her?

Well, you can't force a man to remain in a relationship, but many states do require the biological father to pay his share of the costs of prenatal care. You should check your local laws, and, in my opinion, if your locality doesn't do this, it should. And that should include back pay when appropriate.

19. Does this mean child support begins at the first heartbeat?

I would think that a rational regime where a man is required to support a woman throughout pregnancy, would cover these costs. I mean, to the extent that a woman eats for two, for instance, he should be helping her out with those costs.


And that, dear reader, is all the concerns I can think of. I'm sure there are more out there, but hopefully I cleared up some misconceptions about this law. If you continue to oppose it, at least you will do so in a more informed manner. I mean, frankly, this is not quite my policy preference either, although I am more pro-life than current precedent allows.

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