This Oklahoma anti-abortion bill wants men to approve all abortions

Oklahoma is pushing an anti-abortion bill that will have Donald Trump beaming, and women everywhere terrified

Why women are marching against trump
(Image credit: London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign)

Oklahoma is pushing an anti-abortion bill that will have Donald Trump beaming, and women everywhere terrified

‘Pregnant women’s bodies aren’t their own’ says the US anti-abortion Oklahoma legislator insisting that 'irresponsible' women should obtain their partner’s permission before having an abortion. WTAF?

An anti-abortion Oklahoma state legislator is pushing a bill that would require a woman to have written permission from her sexual partner to have an abortion. Rep. Justin Humphrey explained: 'I understand that they [women] 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.’

Riiiiiight. So he’s basically saying, you know that womb you own? In that body that belongs to you? Yeah, that’s not really yours. And what’s more, if you happen to be a victim of domestic violence, fall ill or carry a child who won’t make it to full term, well, you should have ‘pre-known’ that too so, y’know, your bad... Like we said, WTF?

It’s a disturbing reminder of the logic at play in a post-Trump America. In Oklahoma in particular, 20 individual measures have been passed to restrict access to abortion, a number of which have been blocked by the courts for being unconstitutional. The bill in question, known as HB 1441, is being taken to Members of Oklahoma's House Public Health Committee who are scheduled to vote on the bill today, 14 February.

In a state that has been described as ‘the worst out there’ for reproductive rights, Humphrey went on to explain, ‘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,’ in an interview for The Intercept.

There are exceptions in the proposed law, whereby in cases where the father is dead, a woman will not have to ask his permission for an abortion (go figure) but she still needs to prove he is actually dead by signing a legally-binding statement. In some cases where the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest, the woman may be excluded from seeking a man's consent. So, that's generous of them.

Understandably, this has left many women in America terrified. We spoke to Jamila K. Taylor, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, who said: ‘Kansas and Oklahoma are among the worst states for reproductive rights due to the record number of abortion-related restrictions introduced over the past few years. Texas’s HB2, which was at the centre of the Supreme Court’s Whole Woman’s Health case, had profound impacts on women in Texas, particularly low-income women and women of colour. Thank goodness the rule was reversed by the Supreme Court. However, it will take years to rebuild the health systems and infrastructure back to a point where women will have adequate access to safe abortion.’

‘The Trump administration has already proven itself to be extremely anti-choice and anti-woman,’ added Taylor. ‘We have seen this through statements made by Mr. Trump as candidate for president—when he said he would appoint a Supreme Court justice who would overturn Roe v. Wade and that women should be punished for getting an abortion—and through the extreme anti-choice records of key appointees in the cabinet, including Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Tom Price for secretary of health and human services. Vice President Mike Pence is also staunchly anti-choice and, as governor of Indiana, led efforts to severely restrict access to abortion. I think this anti-choice, anti-woman agenda is going to motivate other state and local anti-choice lawmakers to also push through legislation aimed at dismantling access to abortion and reproductive rights.’

Women are right to be concerned, but they are also ready to resist and fight to maintain their reproductive freedom. This reversal of women’s rights across America - and the rest of the world - is the reason for Marie Claire’s #handsoffourrights campaign and why 500,000 people took to the streets of Washington and 100,000 in London for the Women’s March on 21 January. As Taylor says ‘The momentum from the Women’s March is still going strong, and I think we will continue to see this for the foreseeable future. Under no circumstance should a woman be forced to consult a male counterpart or partner about a decision related to her health or body.’

Join us in telling the lawmakers, the president and all of his men... #handsoffourrights

Tracy Ramsden