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Wingnut Lawmaker Wants Women Seeking Abortion To Get Permission From The Father

The measure would force a woman who wants an abortion to obtain written permission from the father first—unless she was the victim of "legitimate rape."
Wingnut Lawmaker Wants Women Seeking Abortion To Get Permission From The Father

Sure, because men should get to make a decision about whether a woman is going to be legally responsible for another human being for 18 years. That makes perfect sense -- at least, to the conservative mind:

A Missouri Republican is pushing a bill that would allow a man who gets a woman pregnant to stop her from having an abortion. The measure would force a woman who wants an abortion to obtain written permission from the father first—unless she was the victim of "legitimate rape."

Rick Brattin, a state representative from outside Kansas City, filed the bill on December 3 for next year's legislative session. The proposed measure reads, "No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion."

The bill contains exceptions for women who become pregnant as the result of rape or incest—but there are caveats.

"Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it," Brattin tells Mother Jones. "So you couldn't just go and say, 'Oh yeah, I was raped' and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."

Brattin adds that he is not using the term "legitimate rape" in the same way as former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who famously claimed that women couldn't get pregnant from a "legitimate rape" because "the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down."

"I'm just saying if there was a legitimate rape, you're going to make a police report, just as if you were robbed," Brattin says. "That's just common sense." Under his bill, he adds, "you have to take steps to show that you were raped…And I'd think you'd be able to prove that." The bill contains no provision establishing standards for claiming the rape or incest exceptions. It also doesn't state any specific penalties for violating the law nor say whether a penalty would be imposed on the woman seeking the abortion or the abortion provider.

Missouri is home to only one abortion clinic, based in St. Louis. Each year, legislators target the clinic with dozens of new restrictions. In 2014, the GOP-controlled Legislature approved a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours between the initial consultation and the procedure. It's the longest abortion waiting period in the county.


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A group of Democratic lawmakers in Missouri found the onslaught of anti-abortion bills so ridiculous that in 2012 they introduced a bill to ban vasectomies except to save the life of a man. If conservative male lawmakers imagined jumping through hoops to obtain reproductive services, the thinking went, they would see the absurdity of their anti-abortion crusade.

Not Brattin. The father of five says that his recent vasectomy was the inspiration for this bill.

"When a man goes in for that procedure—at least in the state of Missouri—you have to have a consent form from your spouse in order to have that procedure done," he says. "Here I was getting a normal procedure that has nothing to do with another human being's life, and I needed to get a signed form…But on ending a life, you don't. I think that's pretty twisted."

A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri, a group of clinics that perform vasectomies, says that there is no law in Missouri requiring a man to get another person's permission for a vasectomy. Individual providers sometimes require a patient to have his partner's consent. (Planned Parenthood of Missouri does not.) Brattin saved the document his wife signed and intends to share it with other lawmakers when it comes time to promote his bill.

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