Oklahoma House advances bill to require men’s permission for abortions

Oklahoma House advances bill to require men’s permission for abortions
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Women seeking abortions in Oklahoma would have to obtain consent from their sexual partner under a measure advanced Tuesday by a state House committee, even as the bill’s author acknowledged it might be unconstitutional.

The measure, introduced by state Rep. Justin Humphrey (R), would require written consent from the man involved before a woman obtains an abortion.

The woman would be required to disclose the name of the man who impregnated her, as well.

“My bill would stop an abortion if a father does not agree to the abortion,” Humphrey told the state House Public Health Committee, according to The Oklahoman.

“The thing that I wanted to spark in a debate is that fathers have a role. Exactly where that role is, I’m not sure,” he told reporters later.

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Humphrey’s legislation would exempt abortions sought in cases of rape, incest and in which the mother’s health is at stake.

The measure almost certainly runs afoul of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling that struck down a Pennsylvania law that implemented new barriers to abortions.

Humphrey said he would amend his bill in the future.

The state House committee also approved a measure to block abortions performed solely because a fetus is diagnosed with Down syndrome or another genetic condition.

The Oklahoma actions are part of a wave of new measures restricting abortion rights in state legislatures across the country.

Texas legislators are hearing testimony on Wednesday on a bill that would ban so-called partial birth abortions, and on another that would ban what abortion opponents term “dismemberment” abortions. A third bill would tighten restrictions on how an aborted fetus would be disposed of.

In South Dakota, the state House this week passed a measure increasing penalties on abortions performed after 19 weeks of pregnancy.

The Arkansas state House on Tuesday passed a measure banning abortions on the basis of a fetus’s sex. And in Florida, legislators are working on a bill to allow patients who have had abortions to sue physicians for physical or emotional damage up to 10 years after the procedure took place.

Pennsylvania’s state Senate passed a measure early Wednesday to block abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, though Gov. Tom Wolf (D) has said he will veto the measure if it makes it through the Republican-controlled state House.

Wyoming legislators are debating whether to make selling fetal tissue or cells a felony, and considering another measure requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound.

Abortion-rights backers were incensed that those two measures were referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee, made up of five Republican men, rather than to the state Senate Labor, Health and Social Services Committee.

In the past year, 18 states have enacted more than 50 new restrictions on abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, which backs abortion rights.

Ohio, South Carolina and South Dakota legislators all enacted bans on abortions performed after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The wave of legislation comes even as the number of abortions performed in the United States continues to fall. Most of the decline over the past several years occurred in states that did not have restrictive new anti-abortion laws, the Guttmacher Institute reported.