Oklahoma used to be at the cutting edge when it came to abortion restrictions, with the state passing some of the first forced ultrasound and Food and Drug Administration protocol medication abortion bills in the nation. Since then, possibly because of endless court proceedings related to these bills, state legislators have slowed down in their attempts to chip away at abortion rights. Now, with the help of anti-choice model legislation group Americans United for Life, they are once more moving forward.
This year’s anti-choice legislation in the state is focused primarily on abortion access for minors, which is already difficult process in a state with only three public abortion clinics. One bill that has passed the state House will force teens not only to have the consent of a parent with a legal ID—and that parent must have “written documentation” proving his or her relationship to the child.
The parent entitled to notice and consent shall provide to the physician a copy of a government-issued proof of identification, and written documentation that establishes that he or she is the lawful parent of the pregnant female. The parent shall certify in a signed, dated, and notarized statement, initialed on each page, that he or she has been notified and consents to the abortion. The signed, dated, and notarized statement shall include:“I certify that I, (insert name of parent), am the parent of (insert name of minor daughter) and give consent for (insert name of physician) to perform an abortion on my daughter. I understand that any person who knowingly makes a fraudulent statement in this regard commits a felony.”
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Should a teen (or her parents) be unable to meet these requirements, the options for abortion access have become severely limited. She will only be allowed to seek a judicial bypass from a judge in her home county, and if that judge happens to be anti-choice she has no further recourse.
But at least she a shot with a judge. A companion House bill that also passed eliminates any judicial bypass unless the teen is a victim of incest.
Americans United for Life, which created the one-judge-only model bill, has applauded its passage, focusing not on the emotional and physical harm that may befall a teen who’s forced to carry to term against her will, but on how it will properly punish the individuals who impregnate them by forcing the teens to give birth to their “consequences.” “For too long in this country, sex offenders and abusive adults have covered up their crimes by manipulating young girls to have abortions,” AUL spokeswoman Charmaine Yoest said in a statement. “This legislation will make it harder for abusers to hide from the consequences of their misdeeds and for the abortion industry to turn a blind eye to victims of abuse.”
How requiring additional identification and written documentation and refusing to let a teen avoid anti-choice judges protects the pregnant person remains unclear. The only thing that is clear about this new proposal is that it is meant to force teens to give birth when they do not wish to do so, or to seek other means for termination.
The bills will next head to Senate committee for a hearing prior to a full vote.