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HB 1441 will now go to the full House for a vote after the committee approved it 5-2 on Tuesday. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Oklahoma Advances 'Shameful' Written-Consent Abortion Bill

HB 1441 stirred outrage after author said pregnant women were 'hosts' whose bodies did not belong to them

Nadia Prupis

The Oklahoma House Public Health Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill that requires women to obtain written consent from their sexual partners before they can get an abortion—a measure that picked up widespread notoriety after its author, state Rep. Justin Humphrey, referred to pregnant women as "hosts" and said their bodies don't belong to them.

HB 1441 will now go to the full House for a vote. The committee approved it 5-2.

Humphrey told The Intercept on Monday, "what I call them is, is you're a 'host.' And you know when you enter into a relationship you're going to be that host and so, you know, if you pre-know that then take all precautions and don't get pregnant. So that's where I'm at. I'm like, hey, your body is your body and be responsible with it. But after you're irresponsible then don't claim, well, I can just go and do this with another body, when you're the host and you invited that in."

Opponents slammed the bill as unconstitutional, saying it violates the U.S. Supreme Court's 1992 decision in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that a woman does not have to notify her spouse before getting an abortion.

If passed, the law could block abortion access to women facing domestic violence or other abuse, noted the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR).

A Planned Parenthood Great Plains spokesperson called the bill a "waste of taxpayer money." The chapter responded to Humphrey's quote Monday by urging Oklahoma residents to call their representatives and demand they reject the measure.

Amanda Allen, CRR's senior state legislative counsel, said Tuesday, "It is shameful that Oklahoma politicians advanced this measure, which is demeaning, patently unconstitutional, and puts women in abusive relationships at risk.  We call on the Oklahoma legislature to reject this outrageous measure and trust women to make their own health care decisions."

Oklahoma has approved 20 regressive reproductive rights bills since 2011, making it one of the most anti-choice states in the nation.


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