The state of Oklahoma is widely considered to be today’s “most pro-life state,” but the abortion bill lawmakers are now considering might be pushing things a little too far.
Last month, Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-OK) introduced a bill that would make it illegal for women to have abortions without the father’s consent. House Bill 1441, which cleared the House Public Helath Committee on Tuesday, makes exceptions for rape and incest and when the mother’s life is in danger.
Humphrey argues that men are typically excluded from this very important decision, and that his bill would make fathers feel more responsibility towards their unborn children.
“This is not just about abortion; this is about making men responsible for their part in the birthing process and in the entire process. This is a bill that’s trying to bring fathers back into their role, and so that was the intent,” says Humphrey.
“I understand that [women] feel that is their body,” he continues. “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.”
Humphrey’s words have outraged pro-life and women’s rights advocates who argue that the bill takes autonomy away from women. Opponents took particular issue with Humphrey’s use of the word “host” to describe pregnant women.
HB1441 seeks to “unconstitutionally restrict women’s right to make their own medical decisions,” argues James Owen of NARAL Pro-Choice America. “These fringe politicians are painting a macabre picture of what they want America to look like – where women are merely vessels for childbirth and men have veto power over all of life’s decisions.”
Owens blames Republicans for the content of the bill, saying, “There’s no question that ideological extremists across the country have been emboldened to introduce plans like this by the rise of President Trump and his backward ideology.”
Supporters of the bill turned up at the Capitol last week to support lawmakers by offering them roses. Karen Alley, a rose-bearer who works in Tulsa’s Hope Pregnancy Center, reminds us that “life begins at conception.”
In other words, “you become a mother at conception and therefore you become a father at conception. The fact that our young men and our young fathers don’t have a say in that choice is sad to me. It’s taking the rights of the father away.”
Editor’s note: As a student of human nature, this is just unworkable. If the father is responsible enough to raise the child himself, then he is like still with the mother. If that is the case then probably he and the mother are making the decision together. If the father is not with the mother, then he is probably not responsible enough to have input into the decision.