Bill would limit women’s choice

Jackie Mantey

In a perfect world, a dialogue between the sexes would be enough to make abortion a last and little-used resort. With a 20 percent rate of abortions in Portage County, we’re far from perfect, but Ohio state Rep. John Adams thinks he has a solution.

This summer, Adams proposed House Bill 287. Its intent is to give fathers of unborn children a say in whether a mother follows through with a pregnancy or gets an abortion.

Note: I didn’t say it does, that’s just its intent. As with many right-wing legislations, the “good idea” masks the injustices underneath. If you read between the lines, what Adams says is giving the men a choice is really giving them a veto power.

The bill reads that women who want an abortion must first get the written consent of the father of the fetus. Slipped up and don’t know who the father is? Well, ladies, get out a piece of paper and write down all the potentials (never mind that a central point of Roe v. Wade is the protection of a woman’s’ reproductive privacy). The physician will then perform paternity tests and ask the father for permission for an abortion.

While I understand Adams is trying to give men a say in whether a woman follows through on an abortion, this is all wrong. Cut and dry, this bill allows men to say, “No, I don’t agree to this abortion,” and the woman has to follow through with his decision. Silly women! You can’t make serious decisions about your body!

Even more alarming is the bill’s attempt to make a rape victim a victim again, but this time of the system. If a rape victim becomes pregnant and wants to seek an abortion, she must have a police report or some sort of evidence that she was a victim of rape. If she doesn’t have this proof and has an abortion anyway? Well, then she’s charged with a misdemeanor.

Adams’ excuse for this vile inclusion may be that men will be less likely to rape or that women will be more likely to report it, but it sets up an ideology of fear and force that is the last thing rape victims will respond to.

It’s hard to say where this bill will go, but even just the philosophy has some serious consequences. More discussion should be open between the sexes regarding the approaches to sex and pregnancies, but that discussion should be the result of social reconstruction, not legislative force.

The choice to end a pregnancy should solely be the woman’s, but we need to reach a point in this society where that choice is used sparingly. This kind of extreme legislation is only hurting that progression. Instead, look toward what is already hurting the way we approach making reproductive and sexual decisions. For example, remove a sex education plan that simply tells girls and boys to “Just say no” and only diminishes chances for open discussions between the sexes when situations like pregnancies or rape occur.

That will bring us one step closer to equal justice, and to me, that’s perfection.

Jackie Mantey is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].