New Ohio House bill shouldn't have consent

“No person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus. So reads Sec. 2919.124 (B)(1) of Ohio House Bill 287. In plain English, it means that no woman in Ohio may obtain an abortion without a man’s OK.”

No person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus.

So reads Sec. 2919.124 (B)(1) of Ohio House Bill 287.

In plain English, it means that no woman in Ohio may obtain an abortion without a man’s OK.

Were this to become law, a woman seeking an abortion would have to tell the abortion clinic staff the identity of the man who impregnated her. If the woman is unsure of the father’s identity, the abortion provider must perform a paternity test to determine who the lucky guy is.

Of course, victims of incest or rape wouldn’t be bound by this law. That is, if they can produce a police report.

There are no loopholes in the proposed legislation.

For instance, suppose a clever gal thinks she can get around this requirement by telling the abortion clinic staff that she was drunk and had a one-night stand with a stranger. So, if she has no idea who the father is, she obviously can’t get his consent, right?

Wrong.

No consent, no abortion.

What if the woman is a prostitute? Perhaps she was having sex with a john and the condom broke and she subsequently got pregnant. She doesn’t know who the father is, so clearly this is an exception to the rule.

It is not.

State representative John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, introduced the bill. He claims that it was not meant to be controversial. It’s simply a matter of giving fathers rights, he says.

Anti-abortion groups support the bill, as it would likely result in a reduction in abortion rates.

But, as written, the bill raises some profound concerns. The most fundamental – for women – is what such legislation would mean for reproductive freedom.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t paternal consent negate that freedom?

After all, it’s not really freedom if you have to get someone’s permission to exercise it.

Suppose a woman living in a battered women’s shelter wants to terminate her pregnancy. Her abusive husband will have to give his OK for her to get an abortion. Starting to see the problems?

What this would effectively do is subjugate women to the will and whim of men. That sure sounds like a step in the right direction.

When all is said and done, it’s not likely this bill will pass muster. If it does, it would likely be struck down on constitutional grounds. However, people are talking about it – and sexual behavior, morality and consequences, which I suspect is the real intention.

The inherent problem is the pregnancy rate, not the abortion rate. Women have abortions for a host of reasons. It’s not something they enter into lightly.

It’s not the government’s place to second-guess them and allow men to determine the course of their future.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need any of this. Men and women would be equal partners engaging in responsible sex and every pregnancy would be planned, wanted and welcomed.

In the meantime, however, it’s not the job of our legislators to regulate women’s sexual behavior and their reproductive freedom.