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• Does a husband have a constitutional right to "veto" his wife's decision to have an abortion? No, concluded an Indiana appeals court. The court relied on a 1976 decision of the United States Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that "a state may not constitutionally require the consent of the spouse … as a condition for abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy," and accordingly, that "the state cannot delegate to a spouse a veto power which the state itself is absolutely and totally prohibited from exercising during the first trimester of pregnancy." The Indiana court, though noting that the right of abortion and the authority of the United States Supreme Court to legislate morality were "troublesome to some members of this court," found itself bound by the Supreme Court's pronouncement, and accordingly denied the father a veto power over his wife's decision to have ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • January 2, 1989