Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What right does a man have on a woman's life?

This morning, I was apprised of an article of legislation that has come before the Oklahoma House of Representatives Public Health Committee. HB1441 was tabled previously, but now comes up for consideration in committee. The substance of this bill would make it a law in Oklahoma that a woman must seek permission from the possible father of an unborn child to be aborted. This bill would also allow a man who was named as the father of such an unborn child to require a paternity test be performed to prove his sirehood.

Here are the points of HB1441:
A. No abortion shall be performed in this state without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus.
B. A pregnant woman seeking to abort her pregnancy shall be required to provide, in writing, the identity of the father of the fetus to the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion. If the person identified as the father of the fetus challenges the fact that he is the father, such individual may demand that a paternity test be performed.
C. This section shall not apply if the father of the fetus is deceased and the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced signs a notarized affidavit attesting to that fact.
D. This section shall not apply in cases in which a woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced was the victim of rape or incest and the pregnancy resulted from the rape or incest, or in cases where the physician determines that the carrying of the fetus places the woman's life is in danger.

(emphasis is mine)
Let me clear something up front. I am not a fan of abortion as a method of pregnancy control or birth control. I believe that every individual human being is to be respected as a person of sacred worth and identity. And as a member of the society under the Constitution of the United States of America, they are afforded certain rights that are theirs by right of their personhood.

That being said, this bill is not about abortion. This about diminishing personhood.

I know "pro-life" arguments say that this stands in the gap of the unborn child, who has no voice in this decision. I would not take away the due consideration that an unborn child's personhood should be considered when contemplating abortion. But I don't want to lose sight of what matters in this legislation.

First, a woman is required to obtain the written consent of a man to undergo this procedure. This should be recognized as an insult to women in this nation or anywhere. A woman does not require permission to have any healthcare procedure performed. There are some dangerous precedents being established here. It isn't too far away from this to say that any woman in a significant relationship with a man would need his written consent for any life altering procedure. And in our nut-job litigation nation, can you imagine the damage that would be done if a rapist sued a woman because she aborted unborn child he sired and aborted? If you don't think that is possible remember this: rape is about power and control, not sex.

Second, a man has the right under this law to require a paternity test. This is humiliation of a woman. It is putting her word into question. We are not ever going to settle the "he said, she said" arguments of intimate encounters in a legal way. So let us say for argument sake that a couple has an intimate encounter, a fling, a hook-up. It has no lasting meaning when it happened. It was that moment lived out for the moment it was. Then she becomes pregnant. That wild powerful intimate moment now becomes a battle over the value of a woman's word because she is required by law to bring the "father" to the point of giving his permission. If he challenges her word, her value as a person is destroyed exponentially. Sex is not something that is to be taken lightly. It is something that should produce honor in both parties. In any case where sex results in dishonor, then the gift that God intended for sex has been turned into the sin that Satan can use to destroy and deceive.

Third, go back and read C. It is good to know that a woman has freedom to seek a procedure if the sire of her unborn child is dead. But to have a notarized affidavit signed as a testimony of this is ludicrous. Honestly, why don't we just have her father sign it and get back to an Old Testament authority over women's lives. She can't claim authority over her own life, so she has to have a legal binding document that gives her authority.

Can you see where the idea of abortion is now lost? Can you see that this is not about a woman's body or an unborn child's fate?

This is about dignity and human rights. This is about the subjecting of women to another authority, higher authority, wiser authority - a man or a man's authority.

I do not want anyone to think I am arguing for abortion. I am arguing that this is a demolishing of women's respect and independence. It would rankle me to the core if I thought that my wife had to have my written permission to do anything with her body. She is on my health insurance plan. My children are on my health insurance. I MUST be informed of anything that my minor children, who are in my care and custody, have done to their body. My wife is a free and independent woman who is intelligent and wise in her own ways. She does not need my authority to accomplish anything in her own health care. But I trust her enough to believe that any decision she would want to make about her body would be discussed, as her life and mine are intertwined. What is good for her is good for us. What is bad for her health is bad for us. But she would not need my permission to have something done.

Here is my great fear - this is going to walk back the rights of women to independent. I see that this could be used to argue for any health care decision that may impact a husband's perceived rights on his wife's body. THOSE DO NOT EXIST! A husband and wife have a mutual partnership in caring for one another but that is not a right to her life in any way.

If this makes it out of committee and into the House for a vote, this will be a dangerous declaration for the people of Oklahoma to allow. Every person is imbued with certain rights as a member of the society of this nation. The greatest is to be an individual person.