OKLAHOMA CITY — A bill recently introduced in Oklahoma would require that women seeking to kill their children first obtain the consent of the child’s father.
House Bill 1441 requires that a woman disclose the identity of her child’s father to the abortionist, allowing the father to demand a paternity test, and requiring that he provide written, informed consent before his child can be legally killed.
The bill’s author, Republican Rep. Justin Humphrey, stated that he wished to spark a debate about the father’s role in the decision to kill a child, though he later told reporters, “Exactly where that role is, I’m not sure.”
According to The Oklahoman, Humphrey stated, “My bill would stop an abortion if the father does not agree to the abortion.”
Though HB 1441 has been widely criticized by abortion advocates as oppressive to women, abortion abolitionists oppose it on opposite grounds, stating that it seeks to merely regulate the intentional killing of children, instead of opposing and seeking to outlaw abortion as murder.
If passed, it is unclear what impact this bill would have on the practice of abortion. According to abolitionist Toby Harmon, who regularly engages with parents outside local abortion clinics, opposition from fathers of aborted children is extremely rare.
“What I typically see there is not fathers who are distraught over the fact that they have no recourse to save their children’s lives, but men who are actually relieved that they won’t have to take care of these children,” he said. “Usually they are the ones who act as a shield to anything we would say or anything we would show these women to try to persuade them not to go inside.”
Harmon said that even though men should not be powerless to save the lives of their own children, empowering them to participate in the killing is not the answer. “You don’t communicate to the culture that abortion is murder by saying, ‘well we’re going to give the fathers the power to decide whether they want to murder their babies or not’,” he said. “It’s the exact opposite of how we ought to communicate … that abortion is murder and it ought not to be done no matter who wants it.”
Meanwhile a bill on the other side of the spectrum, Senator Joseph Silk’s SB 817, states that no preborn children may be killed for any reason, even if both the child’s parents really want him or her dead.