Oklahoma is no stranger to restrictive abortion laws, but legislators’ latest move to diminish abortion access may be the greatest assault on abortion rights yet.
House Bill 1441, which has been sponsored by Rep. Justin Humphrey, dictates that abortions will require “the written informed consent of the father of the fetus.” Women must name the father, but fathers are also able to demand a paternity test if they doubt that they are the father. Should the bill be passed into law, the only exceptions would be if the father is dead, if the woman’s life is in danger, or if the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.
Although the Supreme Court ruled that requiring parental or spousal consent for abortions was unconstitutional in the 1976 case Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, these laws have been popping up across the nation as of late.
As Jezebel reports, Director of Communications at Planned Parenthood Great Plains Bonyen Lee-Gilmore stated,
“It’s really important to note that this bill does nothing, and says nothing, about preventing unintended pregnancies. If the true desire is to stop abortion from happening, then [legislators] need to be focusing their efforts on access and prevention.”
Lee-Gilmore believes that this bill is just the latest manifestation of the fringe right-wing, what she terms a “vocal minority,” looking to implement their own personal beliefs in the mainstream.
“We’re seeing this because the vocal minority and the extremist lawmakers continue to attempt to shame and stigmatize patients who are exercising their constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion.”