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It takes a spine of steel in today’s political climate to introduce this type of legislation.
Did the bill’s sponsor anticipate the level of vitriol he’d receive in response?
Regardless of the likelihood of its success, this was a positive move to give voice to those who have been all but forgotten in the abortion debate.
Rep. Justin Humphrey of the Oklahoma State Legislature sparked a heated debate when he introduced HB 1441 which would require a woman first provide “written informed consent of the father” of the unborn baby before having an abortion.
Rep. Humphrey justified the bill saying, “The thing that I wanted to spark in a debate is that fathers have a role…This is about making men responsible for their part in the birthing process…to bring fathers back into their role…”
As you can imagine, reaction from pro-abortion activists was swift and, well, even more outrageous than usual.
James Owens, NARAL state communications director, called HB 1441 a “dangerous escalation of efforts by a radical fringe to impose their rigid ideology on the rest of us.” He also claimed the bill gave men “veto power over all of life’s decisions,” and accused pro-life legislators of demonstrating “backward ideology.”
Mr. Owens might want to consider decaf.
Pro-abortion activist, Diane Horvath-Cosper, lashed out accusing the Oklahoma Legislature of attempting to “shame, burden and degrade women.”
These comments are further evidence that radical feminism has hijacked the abortion conversation. They’ve imposed an all-or-nothing right of the woman to decide whether or not the child lives or dies. Radical feminism ignores the biologic reality that both a male and female contribute different-but-equal parts of DNA when conceiving a child.
Bringing fathers back into the equation isn’t “shaming” or “degrading” women. Nor is it “backward ideology” to incorporate modern medical science — the fact that it takes two to conceive children — when dialoguing on a critical issue of life or death. It would be imposing a “rigid ideology” not to. Dads have a right to be heard. This is their baby too.
The chance of this bill becoming law is unlikely. In 1992, the US Supreme Court ruled in Planned Parenthood of Southeast Pennsylvania v Casey that it was an “undue burden” on a woman’s right to abortion to even require a husband be merely informed before his wife aborts their baby.
The laws of society tell men that if a woman chooses to give their baby life, he is to step up to the plate and fully engage his emotions and financial resources to provide for and protect the child until legal maturity.
On the other hand, if the woman decides to kill their baby by abortion, he is expected to totally disengage his God-given instincts to love and protect his child and move on as if the baby never existed.
We can’t have it both ways. This is a cruel and impossible expectation imposed upon fathers.
I have counseled many fathers who’ve lost a child to abortion and walked alongside their journey of grief, shame and anguish. Watching a man sob for the child he was powerless to protect makes you look at fathers’ rights from a different perspective.
And it should.
I have seen the look of shock on a man’s face when I called him “father,” a title no one had ever granted to him before. Until that instant, he hadn’t even considered in his own mind that the brief life of his unborn child literally made him a dad.
It is a powerful moment.
Millions of men have bought into the lie that they have no right or obligation to protect their unborn babies from the violence of abortion and they are now paying the price. Stress related to the loss of a child to abortion is wreaking havoc on the psyche of millions of men.
Drs. Arthur B Shostak and Gary McLouth wrote about their own abortion experiences in Men and Abortion, Lessons, Losses and Love. Their research demonstrates that eight-percent of men who have experienced abortion may have been seriously affected psychologically.
If so, Roe v Wade has created over 4.7 million walking-wounded fathers – men who are daily struggling with a past abortion.
If you know one of these grieving fathers, we have a website dedicated to him with excellent resources. There is also a safe place where he can request a peer-to-peer or licensed counselor to walk with him through his grief.
Men deserve a place at the table when the lives of their children hang in the balance. If HB 1441 gets the discussion started, that’s a very good beginning.
Working to protect fathers too,
President, Life Issues Institute
Life Issues Institute is dedicated to changing hearts and minds of millions of people through education. For 25 years, organizations and individuals around the world have depended upon Life Issues Institute to provide the latest information and effective tools to protect innocent human life from womb to tomb.