Since Trump’s inauguration, we rarely go a day without hearing the ways in which women in the US are having their right to abortion access restricted.
Days ago a law was passed in Arkansas, for example, that will reportedly allow rapists to sue if their victims try to have an abortion.
And even more recently, according to Jezebel, a new bill put forward in Oklahoma would require a woman seeking an abortion to have the father’s written consent in order to go through with it.
The only exception to the proposed law being if the father is dead (which the woman has to prove) or if the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
The father’s also allowed to demand a paternity test if they don’t believe the child is theirs.
The decision to have an abortion is never a light one. And if you were the father in an unintended pregnancy, but you wanted to carry it to term while your pregnant partner wanted to terminate it, it would be very emotionally hard indeed.
But as long as mothers are the ones who have to go through their bodies changing, nine months of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth, a father still shouldn’t have the final say in whether a foetus is kept or not.
Which is what this proposed law is suggesting: that however much a woman feels the need to terminate a pregnancy, a father’s lack of cooperation would prevent it.
A man having a say over a woman’s body like that seems medieval, and a terrifying thought – and that’s even if they’re in a stable relationship let alone a damaging one.
Even if a pregnancy isn’t the result of a rape (which considering its low conviction rate I can only imagine would be hard to prove in the first place), requiring “spousal consent” opens the door to women in abusive, controlling relationships being forced to carry a pregnancy to term against their will.
Which really doesn’t bear thinking about.
Though despite the bill’s appearance, its aim doesn’t really seem to be about preserving a father’s feelings but about making abortion harder to access generally instead.
Which, like the recent Arkansas law, is part of a scary trend in the US over the past few years – in December 2016, a new Oklahoma law required that all restaurants, hospitals, small businesses and public buildings put up anti-abortion messages by 2018.
Despite all of these moves, the term ‘backstreet abortion’ exists for a reason – as long as abusive relationships, poverty, a lack of access to contraception or sex education and mistakes still exist, there will always be pregnancies that people will try to abort, whether it’s safe and legal or not.
Do you think a woman should require the father’s permission to have an abortion? Tweet us at @YahooStyleUK.