Oklahoma state legislator Rep. Justin Humphrey (R) has sponsored a draconian bill that would require a woman to get the written consent of the fetus’s father before obtaining an abortion.
The bill, HB 1441, which passed out of a House committee Tuesday, would also require a woman “to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion,” according to the bill’s language. “If the person identified as the father of the fetus challenges the fact that he is the father, such individual may demand that a paternity test be performed.”
In justifying the bill, Rep. Humphrey told The Intercept that women have no right to their bodies once they become pregnant because they are mere “hosts.”
“I understand that they feel like that is their body,” Humphrey said. “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.”
“So that’s where I’m at,” he added. “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.”
Humphrey said his intent behind the legislation was to let men have a say.
“I believe one of the breakdowns in our society is that we have excluded the man out of all of these types of decisions,” he said.
The bill, as well his description of women as hosts has sparked outrage from reproductive rights groups. Many noted that the measure 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.
No, Rep. Justin Humphrey, we are not "hosts." We are women, and we cannot be contained. #WhyIResist
— Women's March (@womensmarch) February 13, 2017
“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.”
“This legislator’s fundamental misunderstanding of human anatomy as well as what birth control is and does is shocking,” McQuade told The Washington Post. “It’s repugnant that we live in a world now that these types of comments are acceptable to say out loud.”