It seems that an inappropriately-named state legislator from Ohio, John Adams (R-Imagine That) has reintroduced legislation (which was originally shot down in 2007), requiring a woman to get the permission of the biological father before she could get an abortion.
(After all, them wimminfolk can't make decisions like this on their own, can they? They need to get permission from their man, the way God intended!)
Wow, coming from the party that claims to want smaller government, what kind of nonsense is this? This is practically unenforceable, unless you hire on a whole new branch of law enforcement. Who's going to be paying for the DNA tests to prove that the woman isn't "providing a false biological father"? (That's the first offense - a misdemeanor.) Are we allowed to take her at her word? "Innocent until proven guilty" and all that?
(This whole argument does lead to the fascinating mental image of some kind of Uterine Police bursting into the room with guns at the ready - "Halt! Put down that speculum!" But that's a ridiculous side issue, and I shouldn't even have brought it up.)
We already have states with "deadbeat dad" laws, who are supposed to track down fathers behind on their child support. And these states can't keep up with the dads, because they aren't funded to do so. Again, how are these new laws supposed to be enforced?
Supporters of this bill like to claim that it won't cost the state any money - this provides guidelines that the clinic has to follow. Which is a ridiculous and unfounded claim. At the very least, you can't have a law passed in the first place without it costing time and money on the legislative side (plus the cost of judicial review). You can't enforce a law without it draining money from the police and the courts. And when this law is inevitably struck down, all of that money is wasted.
And if the woman goes to the next state over and gets an abortion there, what crime has she committed? Will Mr Adams be coming up with something fascinating for that, as well? Will he be tagging pregnant women with GPS monitors next?
Let's look at the words of Mr Adams, the bill's sponsor.
"...this is also an attempt and a hope to keep the two people who have created that child together, and I suppose if you just go back to the simple beginning, there is merit to chastity, and to young men and women waiting until marriage."Which is, of course, complete nonsense. In the end, the bill has nothing to do with "permission," or "father's rights," or even changing the morality of a society (which isn't something you can legislate anyway). This is all about restricting the access to abortion. Period.
I notice there's no requirement for the father to stick around, pay child support, or to do anything other than give his permission.
Why isn't there some penalty for the father? Why is this punishing only the mother? Dad, following the rules of this legislation, can just walk away. What if the bio-dad fights with the mom and leaves? Mom thought they were getting married. She's now forced to have the baby as a single mom, and become one of Reagan's "welfare queens"? If Dad just refuses to sign a "permission slip" for whatever reason, why is he not then legally required to provide financial support for his incipient offspring?
This doesn't "promote" any kind of behavior in the father, just penalizes the woman. It's ignorant legislation, not well thought out, and would be struck down the first time it was challenged. Meaning it's just money down the drain, in the middle of a recession.
And why, you may ask, will this law be "inevitably" struck down? I mean, I've said that twice; what do I base that on?
It's very simple. Lincoln first signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862 (there was a second one in 1863, but hardly worth arguing about). And within a year of his death in 1865, we had the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.
When you try to claim that one person has any control over the body, life and health of another person, that is slavery, regardless of whether the first person is married to the second. And slavery is, as I just pointed out, unconstitutional. (I'm sorry, but marriage doesn't give him any claim on her internal organs.)
It's a cute idea, and a nice try in getting around abortion rights, but it doesn't hold up to any reasonable standard of judicial logic.
In the end, why should the father have rights? At what point is he going to go through 9 months of pain and discomfort, permanently change his body, and run the risk of dying or ending up with permanent health issues in the process?
(I'll assume that that most people are aware that the US has the worst rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world, right? And the second highest newborn death rate. Of course, all those other countries have the advantage of universal healthcare. But very few of those people in favor of this bill would support that idea, either...)
(Of course, if you think about it, how can you denounce health care reform by claiming that government shouldn't come between people and their doctors, but have no problem placing government between women and their bodies? Do you see the dichotomy there?)
Mr Adams is concerned with legislating his brand of morality - sticking his nose (and the nose of the government) into other people's private lives. He wants to get the government involved in the sex lives of the American people. Am I the only one who’s reminded of Gladys Kravitz here? John Adams is worrying entirely too much about other people's behavior.