One of the Wall Street Journal’s front page articles today was entitled, “At Fertility Clinics, A New Emphasis on Gentle Methods.” (Sorry, can’t find a link online.) (This is how addicted I am to the WSJ: I have five hours at home to study for the OB/GYN shelf, and I spend it reading the last few days worth of the Journal.) The story concerns a few fertility clinics which use fewer drugs and injections, and remove fewer eggs, but claim to have as high a success rate as the traditional method of removing 15-20 eggs at once. The article mostly consists of a well-done explanation of how IVF works, and quoting some doctors on both sides of the discussion. The only real evidence quoted (maybe the only available?), apart from self-pronounced success rates at various clinics, is from two studies: An Austrian one showing 35% success with “mild” hormones, and 29% with the conventional approach, and a Dutch study showing, respectively, 56 and 58% success rates. (Although this last one might be slanted, because the women in the traditional group had two embryos implanted at a time, and the women in the experimental side had only one embryo implanted.) It will be interesting to see what the new orthodoxy on this is by the time I finish residency.

Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling to the effect that if two people are living together, and the police ask to search the place, if one person refuses, the other person’s consent is not sufficient, without a warrant. The case which brought this up concerned a woman who called police in a “marital dispute;” when they asked to search the house, the husband refused, but she agreed, and led them to a bedroom where they discovered cocaine. In a 5-3 decision (Alito not voting; because arguments were heard before he joined the court? Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas dissenting) the Court ruled that the common social understanding in a situation with two tenants is that both have to agree; ie, you wouldn’t enter a house if one person said to come in, and the other one said to leave. (I don’t know about that; depending on the circumstances, I might.) Roberts’ dissent argues that “the court creates constitutional law by surmising what is typical when a social guest encounters n entirely atypical situation.” Quoting the WSJ, “He argued that an individual forfeits such privacy expectations by cohabitating with another.” (I love Roberts; everything he writes so far is good.)

Not surprisingly, I agree with the dissenting opinion here (not that it matters). The flip side of the court’s decision is now that the law-abiding partner does not have the right to invite the police in, obtain their protection (what if it were an illegal gun that was found?), or help keep the law. Some have raised the issue of domestic violence: now the battered partner’s invitation to the police can be over-ruled by the very abuser who caused them to call the police in the first place. Anyhow, if two people are living together, they already have such intimacy and shared knowledge that this restriction is artificial. The wife could have taken the cocaine directly to the police station, or called and informed the police of it in such a way that they could have gotten a search warrant. This is all of a piece with the modern Supreme Court’s tendency to protect lawbreakers at all costs.

(Any chance that Souter et al will follow their logic to the conclusion that both partners have equal rights and interest in their unborn baby? When cows fly. . .)