Looking at the Oklahoma abortion bill
February 27, 2017
In Oklahoma, an advancing bill requiring a pregnant woman to get written permission from the father of the fetus to obtain an abortion, has been proposed. Republican senator Justin Humphrey introduced and wrote the bill, which won approval in the House Public Health Committee by a 5-2 vote. Humphrey’s infamous bill gained media attention when he compared pregnant women to “hosts” and blamed the breakdown of society on a man’s exclusion in these types of decisions.
“[Humphrey] needs to be more professional in what he does,” sophomore Kristina Kossowski said. “He needs to be more educated because women are not hosts.”
A similar bill made it to the Supreme Court in 1992, but was ultimately struck down. According to The Washington Post, Humphrey was aware it may not pass Constitutional requirements and yet, pushed to advance the bill anyway.
Reproductive rights groups outraged over the bill, exclaiming it would especially endanger women in domestically abusive relationships,such as women in situations where it would result in an unsafe conversation about such matters with their significant other. The senior state legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, Amanda Allen, emphasized the bill’s questioning of a woman’s ability to make her own healthcare decisions and how this is unconstitutional.
“The woman is the person who has the baby inside her and I think she should have the main choice in the matter,” senior Connor Cunningham said. “I think maybe the father’s opinion could be up for debate but not for the main choice.”
According to The Intercept, Oklahoma manifests some of the most restrictive abortion legislation in America, passing 20 extreme anti-abortion laws since 2011, many of which remain blocked by the court.
On the same day Humphrey’s bill passed, another bill, with a purpose of banning abortions in the case of a fetal abnormality, failed. Several bills were rejected in previous years, including one in May 2016, when Governor Mary Fallin vetoed a bill that would charge abortion providers with first degree murder.
In the past six years, the Center of Reproductive Rights has litigated Oklahoma eight times. Oklahoma has not won a single one of these cases.