Should a Father be Able to Stop His Partner From Aborting Their Baby?

State   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Feb 9, 2017   |   4:36PM   |   Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

A newly proposed Oklahoma bill would require a pregnant woman to have written consent from her unborn baby’s father before she can have an abortion, Self Magazine reports.

Oklahoma House Bill 1441, sponsored by state Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Atoka, would prohibit unborn babies from being aborted without the father’s consent except in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother. Humphrey introduced the bill Friday, according to Mic.

Here’s more from the magazine:

HB1441 states that no abortion can be legally performed in the state without “written informed consent [from] the father of the fetus.” The bill would also require a pregnant woman to identify the man who impregnated her in writing so that he can give or deny permission for the abortion—or challenge the fact that he’s the father at all (in which case he would demand a paternity test).

The measure could draw attention to the lack of a voice fathers often have in decisions about their unborn babies’ lives, but it likely will encounter constitutional roadblocks. Pro-lifers think fathers deserve the chance to protect their unborn child’s life; however, the courts do not agree.

Not long after Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Planned Parenthood v. Danforth case that spousal consent statutes are unconstitutional if the statutes allow the husband to unilaterally prohibit the abortion in the first trimester. In a subsequent case, Coe v. Gerstein, the high court extended that decision to a spousal consent law regardless of the stage of the woman’s pregnancy.

Then, in the 1992 decision Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court struck down a law requiring that a married woman notify her husband of her plans to have an abortion prior to it taking place.

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Abortion advocacy groups and abortion business owners already are slamming the Oklahoma bill.

“Oklahoma is legislating reproductive coercion when it should be outlawing it and protecting teens and women,” Mercedes Sanchez, of the abortion business Cedar River Clinics, told the magazine. “For teens experiencing child abuse and women experiencing domestic violence, this law will empower their abusers to use the courts as a weapon to further control and terrorize them.”

Planned Parenthood Great Plains Votes spokesperson Tamya Cox “guaranteed” the public that the abortion group will challenge the measure if it becomes law, Tulsa World reports.

A state House committee considered the bill on Wednesday and took no action.