Congress May Hear Spears; But She Needs Legal Help; Many Decry Her Treatment, But Don’t Step Forward to Protect Reproductive Rights
Britney Spears To Testify Before Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 2, 2021) - An influential group of Republican House Members has invited Britney Spears - who recently told a judge about an apparent violation of her fundamental and constitutionally protected reproductive rights - to testify before Congress to help influence federal policy and give "hope to millions."
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But she still urgently needs additional legal assistance, and the many law professors are other legal experts who pontificated about her important constitutional "reproductive coercion" appear to be doing nothing, not even submitting amicus briefs in support of important reproductive rights at stake in her situation, argues public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
A judge has just refused, in a written order, to grant Britney Spears' plea in open court for some relief from what she described as oppressive control over virtually every aspect of her life, including decisions regarding reproduction.
More specifically, the court ruled “The conservator’s request to suspend James P. Spears immediately upon the appointment of Bessemer Trust Company of California as sole conservator of estate is denied without prejudice.”
Especially since the denial was made "without prejudice" - meaning that she is permitted to make the same or similar applications in the future - the need for more effective legal assistance, especially by many law professors and others who have expressed concern about a violation of her fundamental constitutional right of reproduction (which some called "reproductive coercion") has become more pressing and urgent, say Banzhaf.
Conservator Prevent Removal Of IUD
Probably the most shocking part of Spears' testimony was that her conservator prevents her from having an IUD removed so she can have a child. In quotations appearing in the major media, many law professors opined that such a denial of reproductive freedom was unconstitutional or otherwise illegal, "shocking," "outrageous," and much more.
The Guttmacher Institute was outraged, stating that "forcing someone to be on birth control against their will is a violation of basic human rights and bodily autonomy, just as forcing someone to become or stay pregnant against their will would be."
Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California called the pop icon’s account of forced contraception “extremely troubling.”
The Director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law opined that her situation "illustrates an abusive system aided and abetted by the law.”
But as Spears' problems illustrate - especially with her former attorney claiming that she was "deprived of her rights" in a "terrible miscarriage of justice" - she needs far more than pontifications and pious pronouncements.
What she very clearly needs is legal assistance, says law professor Banzhaf, not only to protect her own reproductive rights, but also the rights of many other women whose similar constitutional rights are in danger of being violated, as least according to some experts.
Insufficient Legal Representation
Whatever legal representation she's now getting obviously hasn't been sufficient to persuade the judge that her fundamental constitutional rights are being violated, says Banzhaf, who notes that many lawyers are already involved with her and her conservatorship, but may not be doing enough to protect her interests. Indeed, Spears claimed that she was not even told that she had a legal right to petition to have the conservatorship terminated.
The traditional way for law professors to provide at least some legal assistance in a case, when a legal right they deem important is at stake, is to file a "friend of the court" [amicus] brief, said Banzhaf, who has filed several himself at his own expense.
Such briefs can be very effective, especially in courts below the U.S. Supreme Court, because they not only provide information and legal arguments the court might otherwise not be exposed to, but also because their filings also emphasize just how important the legal proceeding - and the underlying legal issues - are.
Although Spears' court records are largely sealed, it appears, from the absence of any mention in the media, that none of the law professors who profess to be so concerned about this violation of a reproductive right - which the U.S. Supreme Court has determined is a fundamental constitutional right - has filed such a brief to assist Spears in defending this right in her case, and in creating a precedent able to help many other women who are facing or are likely to face similar deprivations.
Since they are all apparently on an extended summer break from having to teach classes, these law professors should have more than sufficient time to take this tiny step, professor Banzhaf points out.
It is even more startling that apparently none of the organizations which have pontificated on behalf of Spears' reproductive rights have provided any legal support or other assistance to her in defending them.
This is especially surprising because they obviously have resources far in excess of those within the reach of most individual law professors; ironically, they seemingly raise money by representing how they protect the rights which they say are so important.