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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 an abortion. The Indiana court observed that "the obvious fact is that when the wife and the husband disagree on this decision, the view of only one of the two marriage partners can prevail. Inasmuch as it is the woman who physically bears the child and who is the more directly and immediately affected by the pregnancy, as between the two, the balance weighs in her favor." Conn v. Conn, 525 N.E.2d 612 (Ind. App. 1988).

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Posted: January 2, 1989

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