In the Tennessee House and Senate, a new bill has been introduced that would allow fathers to claim paternity and prevent a woman from having an abortion. The bill has already resulted in a flurry of media articles, with pro-abortion groups arguing that the proposed measure violates a woman’s right to choose.
But if the measure passes and goes through the court system, it could breathe new life into an old pro-abortion case.
In Planned Parenthood v. Danforth (1976), the abortion industry argued against a Missouri law that would have required a woman to get the written consent of her husband or, if unmarried, consent from her parents before having an abortion. The court sided with Planned Parenthood, deeming the requirement unconstitutional.
However, this Tennessee law could be used to legally challenge the idea that an abortion is solely up to the woman, and officially bring men into the mix.
Introduced by Republican Sen. Mark Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton, the bill would allow fathers to petition the court if they want to stop a woman from aborting their child, if they can prove paternity.
“I believe a father should have a right to say what’s gonna be happening to that child,” Pody said. “And if somebody is going to kill that child, he should be able to say, ‘No, I don’t want that child to be killed. I want to able to raise that child and love that child.’”
Naturally, the abortion industry is against the measure.
In a statement, ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg said, “This unconstitutional legislation demonstrates the condescending mindset underlying this bill: that men should control women’s bodies. Women are not chattel and this bill needs to be stopped in its tracks.”
“A pregnant person must have the ultimate control over their body and their pregnancy,” Francie Hunt, the executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, said in a statement. “The legislature needs to stop trying to distract the public from their leadership failures with increasingly stigmatizing abortion restrictions.”
The Daily Citizen will continue to follow this story and piece of legislation as it moves through the Tennessee legislature.