Unconstitutional Oklahoma Bill Forces Women to Seek Permission for Abortions


Pregnant women are such a threat to public safety and American democracy that on their first day in session, Oklahoma state legislators have already filed around a dozen bills targeting abortion access—including at least one “spousal consent” bill that is unconstitutional.

House Bill 1441, sponsored by freshman Rep. Justin Humphrey, requires that abortions will require “the written informed consent of the father of the fetus.” Women must name the father, in writing, but the fathers are allowed to demand a paternity test if they don’t believe they are the parent.

The only exceptions to this rule, should it pass into law, are that the father is dead (and the woman signs a notarized affidavit that says so), the woman needs an abortion because her life is in danger, or if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

Rewire notes that spousal consent bills have been cropping up across the country recently, but in 1976 case Planned Parenthood of Central Missouri v. Danforth, the Supreme Court ruled that requiring parental or spousal consent for abortions was unconstitutional.

“In no other area of law are competent adults required to seek permission from others in order to receive their medical care,” said Bonyen Lee-Gilmore, Director of Communications at Planned Parenthood Great Plains. “We’re seeing this because the vocal minority and the extremist lawmakers continue to attempt to shame and stigmatize patients who are exercising their constitutional right to a safe and legal abortion.”

“It’s really important to note that this bill does nothing, and says nothing, about preventing unintended pregnancies,” she added. “If the true desire is to stop abortion from happening, then [legislators] need to be focusing their efforts on access and prevention.”

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