Judging from the dishonorable and irresponsible men by whom they become pregnant, many women in Connecticut are not very smart. But are they really so stupid that they need more than a minute to distinguish an abortion clinic from a "crisis pregnancy center" that opposes abortion?
That is the presumption of legislation causing controversy in the General Assembly, as it has done in other states, to punish anti-abortion shops for deceptive advertising. Abortion advocates accuse the anti-abortion shops of posing as abortion clinics to lure pregnant women and dissuade them from having abortions. The anti-abortion shops and their supporters deny deceiving anyone, but the anti-abortion shops and the abortion clinics are in brutal competition with each other.
Connecticut's Unfair Trade Practices Act already authorizes the state Department of Consumer Protection to sue businesses that have caused loss to customers through deception, so the proposed legislation might be redundant if what the anti-abortion shops do is construed as trade and commerce. But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a California law compelling anti-abortion shops to make certain statements to clients is probably an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
In any case the proposed legislation in Connecticut is largely a mechanism by which the pro-abortion side aims to intimidate the anti-abortion side and to frighten legislators into striking pro-abortion poses. The claim that a woman's visit to an anti-abortion shop may critically delay her access to medical treatment is hardly persuasive when, if she is seeking an abortion, all she has to do is ask if the shop will provide or facilitate one.
The proposed legislation is part of the political left's larger campaign against freedom of speech generally. But the more the left practices intimidation here, the less it may persuade the country that there is nothing questionable about abortion, not even abortion of late-term, viable fetuses and infanticide. Indeed, the Democratic Party, the party of the left, is already giving the impression that it considers abortion the highest social good.
This is crazy fanaticism.
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont's open letter to the state, published last week, was a welcome preface to his budget proposal, due this week. But it invited questions.
The governor called attention to the problem of "fixed costs" -- pension, salary, and other commitments set by law and contract that already consume more than half the state budget. Saving the state will require unfixing them, returning them to the democratic process. Will the governor have the courage to propose that?
The governor also suggested repeal of some sales-tax exemptions. Altogether sales-tax exemptions cost state government an estimated $3 billion every year. But while fairness might argue for repeal of some exemptions, any expansion of the sales tax would remove more money from the private economy unless the overall tax rate is reduced. So fairness alone here will not be cause for celebration.
In remarks to business leaders, the governor said that he would propose sharply curtailing state government's bonding, restricting it to necessities. Indeed, for many years the bonding package has been the political pork barrel, with both parties feasting on inessentials to buy votes.
Only the details of the governor's budget will establish where he aims to take Connecticut. But in his campaign he promised change, and change can mean only restraint.
Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer, in Manchester, Conn.