I've seen this argument quite a bit from the left following the Gonzales v. Carhart decision.
Over at a bird and a bottle, the author is using this "it's patronizing" complaint against William Salatan, who has written that laws requiring ultrasounds before abortions may be patronizing but also may be helpful.
Today Saletan takes on the ultrasound, and, more specifically, the rash of laws forcing abortion providers to offer women an ultrasound of their fetus prior to an abortion. These laws, which have no doubt been enabled by the recent Gonzales v. Carhart decision, are an extension of the “women are stupid” rhetoric that was on full display in Kennedy’s opinion in that case. Women are stupid and don’t think through decisions so we should take away a medical option. Women are stupid and don’t think through their decisions - even about abortion - and so we should shove an image of their fetus in their faces. That’s pretty much what these laws are saying.
That's not at all what these laws are saying, of course. What they are saying is that they take seriously the third prong of the Planned Parenthood v. Casey test: that the State has legitimate interests from the outset of the pregnancy in protecting the health of the woman and the life of the fetus that may become a child.
As Simon Dodd at Stubborn Facts points out, this prong of the Casey test has been sorely overlooked, but Kennedy made clear in his decision that the Gonzales case correctly applies Casey in a way that the earlier Stenberg case (in which Kennedy dissented) did not.
Frankly, I find this "you can't regulate or impede abortion because it is saying women are stupid" argument to be tiresome and disingenuous. The people who propose it don't mind throwing up every possible type of regulation in the way businesses are run or the way education is presented. There's no protests against compulsory education, for example. When was the last time these same people argued that health department regulations of restaurants is saying that "diners are stupid"?
I understand why pro-abortion types use this argument. They like the idea of individual autonomy where abortion is concerned, even when they protest parental autonomy where school matters are concerned. Unfortunately for them, requiring women to go through certain restrictions before killing their offspring is perfectly within the rights of the states. They might hate it, but caring for the children doesn't mean "women are stupid" (although women screaming "my body! my body!" might be saying something else about women).