A new proposed bill in the Missouri state legislature would require women to get a man’s permission before being able to obtain an abortion.
Republican Missouri state representative Rick Brattin introduced the legislation earlier this month in the state house. If passed, the law would require women seeking an abortion to get consent from the man who is the father of the child. Exceptions are allowed in cases of rape or incest, but there is no mention of an exception in other circumstances, such as if the woman is in an abusive relationship.
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The bill states: “No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion, except in cases in which the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced was the victim of rape or incest and the pregnancy resulted from the rape or incest. If the father of the unborn child is deceased, the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced shall sign a notarized affidavit attesting to the fact."
In an interview with Mother Jones, Brattin told the website: “Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it. So you couldn't just go and say, 'Oh yeah, I was raped' and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."
The bill contains no exception for women who are in abusive relationships. Brattin explained his reasoning to Mother Jones: "What does that have to do with the child's life? Just because it was an abusive relationship, does that mean the child should die?"
Brattin also said that he was inspired to propose the bill when he went in for a vasectomy, and says he had to have permission from his wife in a signed document.
Missouri already has some of the harshest abortion restrictions in the country. Earlier this year, the state legislature passed a bill approving a 72-hour wait period between the first appointment with an abortion provider and the actual procedure. This is one of the longest wait periods in the nation. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had vetoed the bill in July, but the legislature overrode his veto in September and enacted the law.
Brattin's bill has been filed for next year's legislative session. If it passes, it is likely that abortion rights advocates will try to fight it with legal action. The Supreme Court previously struck down requirements that a woman had to notify her spouse before obtaining an abortion in 1992, in the case of Planned Parenthood v. Casey.