Plenty of Problems with Oklahoma Abortion Bill Besides ‘Host’ Comment

Plenty of Problems with Oklahoma Abortion Bill Besides ‘Host’ Comment

Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak before a Public Health Committee at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. Humphrey submitted House Bill 1441 requiring permission from the father before a woman gets an abortion. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP)/The Oklahoman via AP)

House Bill 1441 passed  through the House Public Health Committee this week, and would require the father of the fetus to sign off before the mother may have an abortion.

Out of all the ridiculous abortion bills I’ve heard proposed for our state, this one might be the most ridiculous of them all.

Section 1-732.1 of Title 63 of the bill reads:

“No abortion shall be performed in this state without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus.”

The bill goes on to exclude women with deceased husbands, those whose lives are endangered by the pregnancy, as well as victims of rape and incest, which I applaud.

Author of the bill, Rep. Justin Humphrey (R) stated:

“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions, I understand that they feel like that is their body. I feel like it is a separate — what I call them is, is you’re a ‘host.’ And you know when you enter into a relationship you’re going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don’t get pregnant. So, that’s where I’m at. I’m like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you’re irresponsible then don’t claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you’re the host and you invited that in.”

This bill is troublesome for reasons other than simply being written by a state representative who refers to women as “hosts”. It bothers me for reasons other than the simple fact that this bill would give someone else the actual right to a woman’s body. 

What if this bill were become just another way to control women in domestic abuse situations?

For instance, often times women in these situations have their financial independence stripped from them by their abusers. They are often discouraged or forbidden from obtaining an education, making them less marketable. They are also cut off from, or already don’t have strong or even existing relationships with, their families. They have also probably been cut off from their friends leaving them with no support system.

With no money, job potentials, support system, and a baby on the way, that you can not care for and now must carry to term even if you could get out of the abusive situation, what are you supposed to do?

Yes, there are organizations who help these women, but this particular position is complicated and House Bill 1441  seems to have little clarification for these women.

Please don’t use the argument that women can just go to the authorities about their situation and get out of it, because realistically, that’s not a universal solvent.

Thousands of domestic violence cases go unreported every year in Oklahoma.

Another issue I have with the bill is that it seems to lack any provisions that require the man to pay for or raise the child. 

In the end, the woman is the one who is carrying that fetus for nine months, and in the end she is the one giving birth and is the one who will ultimately have responsibility over the life of that child if the father decides he no longer wants responsibility.

A similar bill was also struck down by the U.S Supreme Court in the 1992 case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania V. Casey as unconstitutional. 

There are many reasons a woman would consider abortion. Maybe she’s not mentally or financially stable enough to have a child. Conservatives don’t want people on welfare or food stamps, yet they’re the same proponents of people having children they can’t afford. Leading me to believe that people matter more when they’re still just clumps of cells.

But, I digress.

Maybe she is  in an abusive relationship. Maybe she’s considered adoption, but she doesn’t want to risk adding to the 10,000+ children in the Oklahoma foster system. Maybe her life is at risk due to the pregnancy. Maybe she’s a victim of rape. Maybe the woman has other life plans in general. 

But, regardless of the reason they’re doing it, it’s a tough decision. Nobody makes it on a whim. And it’s not easy on the woman, but in the end she’s doing what’s best for her.

We have to trust that women are capable of doing what’s best for themselves.

Women are not “hosts.” They are not simply their biological capabilities.

In the end, it is the woman’s body and it is her choice. If the man is ready to be a father, that’s great. But, he needs to start a family with or impregnate a woman who is ready to be a mother. You can not force somebody to be psychologically or financially ready for something just because you are. You don’t have a right to another persons body and future regardless of your beliefs. 

 

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