Anti-abortion legislation in my home state of Oklahoma is making national headlines. Not for the first time.
The latest bill proposes to give fathers the power to block abortions.
The Oklahoman reports on today's front page:
An Oklahoma House committee approved a bill allowing fathers to veto an abortion, despite objections that it would be found unconstitutional.
The measure requires women seeking an abortion to provide the father’s written, informed consent. A woman would also have to reveal the father’s name.
House Bill 1441 now moves on to the full House. It must still get Senate approval before heading to the governor.
The bill’s author, state Rep. Justin Humphrey, said he just wants to add the father into the abortion process.
“My bill would stop an abortion if a father does not agree to the abortion,” Humphrey told the committee, which eventually voted 5-2 in favor of the legislation.
It's clear that one side — the pro-choice side — is in an uproar over the Oklahoma bill.
Reproductive rights groups on Tuesday expressed outrage about the measure, which they said clashed with a 1992 Supreme Court decision striking down a Pennsylvania law that required a woman to get her husband’s permission before obtaining an abortion.
They said it could be particularly harmful in cases of domestic violence, when a woman may not be comfortable talking to her husband about such matters.
“It is shameful that Oklahoma politicians advanced this measure, which is demeaning, patently unconstitutional, and puts women in abusive relationships at risk,” Amanda Allen, senior state legislative counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, said in a statement. “We call on the Oklahoma legislature to reject this outrageous measure and trust women to make their own health care decisions.”
Laura McQuade, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Great Plains, called the bill “an affront to women’s autonomy and decision-making capacity, full-stop.”
But neither The Oklahoman nor the Post bother to seek comment from pro-life advocates. Yes, pro-life forces obviously oppose abortion. But what do they think about this particular approach? Do they believe it advances their movement? Or would they argue against it?
Moreover, how do organizations such as the National Center for Fathering and the National Fatherhood Initiative respond to the proposal? Do they believe that fathers should have any rights concerning an unborn child?
An interesting correction at the bottom of the Post report notes that it originally linked to a parody account of Dr. Jill Biden. I'm guessing this was the tweet erroneously embedded:
If you somehow missed it previously, check out the classic 1990 Los Angeles Times series — written by the late David Shaw — that exposed rampant news media bias against abortion opponents. Go ahead and bookmark that, because it remains painfully relevant for people who run newsrooms.
Honestly, I have no idea what pro-life or fatherhood organizations would say about the Oklahoma bill. But I'd love to know.
Perhaps some enterprising reporter — with an eye toward impartiality and fairness — will decide to pick up the telephone and ask.