A bill proposed by a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri would require a woman seeking an abortion to obtain notarized consent from the baby’s father, even if he is physically abusive toward her.
The bill’s sponsor, State Rep. Rick Brattin, told Mother Jones that while the bill has exceptions for rape victims and to protect the life of the mother, women in domestic violence situations are not exempt from having to ask the father’s permission. “What does that have to do with the child’s life?” Brattin said. “Just because it was an abusive relationship, does that mean the child should die?”
In explaining the bill to Mother Jones, Brattin channeled Todd Akin, the former Republican congressman from Missouri who, during a failed 2012 Senate bid, said that women who are victims of “legitimate rape” have mechanisms in their bodies that prevent them from getting pregnant. Brattin said his bill would require a woman to be able to prove that a “legitimate rape” happened in order to avoid having to ask for a man’s consent for the abortion.
"Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it," said Brattin. "So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape."
Brattin said he was inspired to introduce the bill on December 3 for the next legislative session, but it has not moved yet in the Missouri House. He said he was inspired to change the laws around abortion consent because he was required to obtain his wife’s consent before having a vasectomy.
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