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Oklahoma lawmaker writes bill requiring man's permission for abortion, calls women 'hosts'

Quick facts:

  • Oklahoma state Rep. Justin Humphrey, a Republican, authored a bill that would require women seeking abortions to obtain permission from the men who impregnated them.
  • Humphrey referred to pregnant women as "hosts" when discussing the bill.
  • He is facing backlash over the term and bill.

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. –  controversial abortion bill in Oklahoma  could put the right to abortion in the hands of men.

Republican state Rep. Justin Humphrey introduced House Bill 1441 earlier this month.

Humphrey’s bill would require a pregnant women – whom he referred to as "hosts" while discussing the bill – seeking an abortion to obtain written consent from the man who impregnated her.

It also requires a woman seeking an abortion to identify the man who impregnated her at her own expense and allows a man who challenges the woman’s claims to demand and pay for a paternity test.

The bill would not apply to women who are victims of rape or incest, and it would not apply if a physician decides the fetus places the woman’s life in danger.

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It also would not apply in cases where the man is dead, as long as the woman seeking the abortion signs an affidavit proving it.

Humphrey faced backlash after he referred to pregnant women as "hosts" when discussing his bill.

He stood by his term, saying he didn't mean to offend anyone and didn't know of a better term to describe a pregnant woman.

Democratic state Rep. Emily Virgin described Humphrey's comment as "incredibly disrespectful."

Oklahoma has passed some of the strictest anti-abortion bills in the country, although at least five have been struck down by the courts in recent years.

NARAL Pro-Choice America, a women's rights advocacy group, released a statement concerning Humphrey's bill:

"This bill is a dangerous escalation of efforts by a radical fringe to impose their rigid ideology on the rest of us. There's no question that ideological extremists across the country have been emboldened to introduce plans like this by the rise of President Trump and his backward ideology," said James Owens, states communications director for NARAL Pro-Choice America. "Not only does this bill seek to unconstitutionally restrict women's right to make their own medical decisions, it undermines their fundamental autonomy over their own lives. These fringe politicians are painting a macabre picture of what they want America to look like—where women are merely vessels for childbirth and men have veto power over all of life's decisions. People of conscience everywhere must call on our elected leaders to reject these kinds of dangerous and out-of-touch proposals."

The Oklahoma bill would require "the written and informed consent of the father of the fetus," a requirement that runs afoul of the Supreme Court's decision to invalidate spousal notification requirements due to an unconstitutional burden on abortion access and jeopardizing the well-being of women in abusive relationships. 

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News

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