Women have to get written permission

Mother Jones tells us about an exciting new idea from a Missouri state legislator: a new way to make women non-people under the law.

A Missouri Republican is pushing a bill that would allow a man who gets a woman pregnant to stop her from having an abortion. The measure would force a woman who wants an abortion to obtain written permission from the father first—unless she was the victim of “legitimate rape.”

Rick Brattin, a state representative from outside Kansas City, filed the bill on December 3 for next year’s legislative session. The proposed measure reads, “No abortion shall be performed or induced unless and until the father of the unborn child provides written, notarized consent to the abortion.”

Cool. So if they’ve split up in the interim, she has to go to him to beg permission to get an abortion, which he can refuse to give. If they’ve split up and she doesn’t know how to contact him, she’s stuck with that baby she doesn’t want to have. If they were never together in the first place and she doesn’t know how to contact him, same deal. If he got her drunk and then had sex with her and she doesn’t know how to contact him, same deal. She has no rights at all, and he can mess with her rights.

The bill contains exceptions for women who become pregnant as the result of rape or incest—but there are caveats.

“Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it,” Brattin tells Mother Jones. “So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape.”

Damn right! None of this just saying you were raped shit – none of this wicked smearing of good men by slutty women just saying they were raped. They have to prove it, which is easy to do if you actually were legitimately raped. Nobody ever says “but he says it was consensual” or “you’re a lying whore,” so there will be no problem getting an abortion if you were legitimately raped.

Brattin adds that he is not using the term “legitimate rape” in the same way as former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), who famously claimed that women couldn’t get pregnant from a “legitimate rape” because “the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

“I’m just saying if there was a legitimate rape, you’re going to make a police report, just as if you were robbed,” Brattin says. “That’s just common sense.”

Absolutely! Totally common sense. So if you don’t make a police report, obviously you weren’t raped, and that’s all there is to it.

Under his bill, he adds, “you have to take steps to show that you were raped…And I’d think you’d be able to prove that.”

Oh yes? How? How would you be able to prove that?

Missouri is home to only one abortion clinic, based in St. Louis. Each year, legislators target the clinic with dozens of new restrictions. In 2014, the GOP-controlled legislature approved a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to wait 72 hours between the initial consultation and the procedure. It’s the longest abortion waiting period in the county.

This isn’t about “the unborn child.” It’s about hatred of women. It’s about hatred of the smallest hint that any particular woman is not the wholly owned subordinate of a man. It’s about hatred and punishment of women.



  1. screechymonkey says

    What if you say you were impregnated by the Holy Spirit? Or just plain magic? After all, the Supreme Court showed in Hobby Lobby that it doesn’t care about scientific facts, just beliefs.

  2. Matt Penfold says

    I have a suggestion.

    Before being allowed to have sex Mr Brattin should be required to produce a notarized consent from the other person, including an indication they have been informed he is a prize wanker.

  3. Blanche Quizno says

    Ah, yes. It’s just a fantasy that a woman would flee from an abusive man and then realize she’s pregnant, and that he would refuse consent to punish her for leaving him. Or a woman who becomes pregnant, who flees her abusive partner because he tries to kill her – ah, but she can’t prove THAT, can she? It’s her word against HIS, right? Where are her three male witnesses?? No witnesses, no crime. And will HE give consent to ANYTHING she needs? You only read about such things in pulpy novels, of course – nothing like that could POSSIBLY happen in real life, where all men are stalwart and true and need protection in life only against evil, conniving women who seek to deprive these good men of their just due – whether it’s sex on demand, bearing children at the man’s whim, or any other demonstration of proper submission as each individual man defines it.

    But back to reality for just a moment: What will we do with all these unwanted children? “Oh, she can give the baby up for adoption.” Really? What about all those babies who already don’t get adopted, and who end up aging out of the foster care system, permanently damaged and with good odds for ending up homeless and prematurely dead? Nobody seems to care at all about these future babies.

    And what’s to stop a man from withholding consent for an abortion, only to “change his mind” at 8.5 months and then declare that he shouldn’t have to pay child support since he didn’t “choose” to have a baby?? You know THAT’s coming – the MRAs have been whining for YEARS about how unfairly burdened innocent, helpless men are with being forced to pay child support for their own biological children. Again, because of evil, conniving women, out to suck them dry of their hard-earned money.

    How can anyone *not* see that this is a sure-fire recipe for societal collapse?

  4. dmcclean says

    I’m guessing they already require notarized parental consent, and that’s why they left that out? Both parents? No age limit? If one or both is dead or otherwise unreachable you’re SOL? Maybe they should require everyone to have a registered spiritual adviser, and have his (obviously) notarized consent too.

    What’s that you say, you want universal background checks for gun purchases? They’ll never take our FREEEEEDOMMMM!!

    Also, how the fuck do they hope to know if the person whose signature you have is the father? I assume the signer has to attest to it, and so I can’t just be willing to sign for anyone in Missouri who asks, making an end run around this proposed farce, because I would be perjuring myself. But what if some wingnut decides to make the opposite end run, and claims to be the “real” father of every fetus in Missouri, and so your paperwork from the person you claim is the father is obviously invalid? Are we going to require DNA tests?

    If you need this permission slip now, because the pregnancy has become a threat to your life, what happens then?

    Do sperm banks need to start getting these permission slips up front from donors? Is that allowed, or does the woman carrying the pregnancy need to be named in the form?

    Do you need a permission slip from your egg donor too? Or does she not count because she’s a woman?

    You have to be a special type of asshole to even consider voting for this type of shit. Wow.

  5. jcsscj says

    Any man can claim he is the father of a child. We as man do not need to prove that. Our word is enough. Therefore just find a man that is willing to sign the paper.

  6. iknklast says

    So what if a man insists on the abortion, and the woman doesn’t want it? Does she have to have it anyway? That would be logical, if the decision hinges on the man’s opinion, and he can veto hers in this situation.

    This is just more of the same old mantra that the church has been peddling for two millennia. Women are basically children, and need to be taken care of. My question on that is, if they are such children that they need to be taken care of, why on earth should you trust them to take care of children? I mean, seriously, shouldn’t men be doing all the child care, all the housework, all the shopping, etc, while women sit around and play with their toys, and maybe do a few chores?

  7. resident_alien says

    jcsscj, appreciate the sentiment, but you seem to be missing the point.
    This law infringes on women’s right to bodily autonomy.
    Whether it can be circumvented is secondary to the fact that it is morally reprehensible
    and unconstitutional in the first place.

  8. Crimson Clupeidae says

    Before being allowed to have sex Mr Brattin should be required to produce a notarized consent from the other person, including an indication they have been informed he is a prize wanker.

    There should still be a 72 hour waiver, just in case…..

  9. quixote says

    (Jeeeesus. I clicked on the link figuring it would be yet one more thing out of Saudi Arabia or something. I am so behind the times.)

  10. tecolata says

    What if the man says it wasn’t him? Does Missouri impose a 6 month waiting period so the woman can get the fetal DNA tested?

  11. Sili says

    I assume they’ve put in strong measures to ensure the payment of child support from those fathers, of course.

  12. screechymonkey says

    Things a woman must do to get an abortion in ConservativeLand:

    1) Go to the doctor. Listen to lecture on the evils of abortion and the joys of BABIES BABIES BABIES DON’T YOU LOVE BABIES?
    2) Wait 72 hours, then go back to the doctor.
    3) Receive ultrasound, followed by extensive audio-visual presentation of how that lump totally looks like a baby!
    4) Wait 72 more hours.
    5) Go back to doctor. Insist that, yes, you still want to go ahead with the abortion. Receive paternal consent form.
    6) Return signed paternal consent form.
    7) Obtain a shrubbery. One that looks nice. And not too expensive.
    8) Obtain another shrubbery. Place it here beside this shrubbery, only slightly higher so you get a two-level effect with a little path running down the middle.
    9) Cut down the largest tree in the forest with a herring.
    10) Done all that? Great, now there’s just the one-week waiting period, and as long as you’re still in the first trimester…

  13. lorn says

    Of course, to make matters worse, I assume that the woman has to prove the male is in fact the father before she can beg him for his notarized approval. The only ways I know of to accomplish that would be to have an amniocentesis or CVS done to collect material to test. Amniocentesis and a CVS are both expensive (amniocentesis about $1500 to 2000 and CVS much more) , hazardous to mother and fetus, and seldom covered by insurance. They are also time consuming. Time that ticks away as the legal limit gets nearer. Much to the delight of the anti-abortion folks.

  14. cs says

    Are they going to enforce that the man who signs the waiver is actually the father of the child? Will they do DNA testing on the aborted fetus and prosecute the mother and/or not-father for fraud if the paternity test comes back negative?

    Because if so, the law can be potentially used to threaten any woman who has gotten pregnant outside of a monogamous relationship into not aborting. Did you have a hook-up and not get a good look at the man? Did you have sex with more than one man that month? Better be sure you get the right man to sign the waiver. There will be good guys willing to risk prosecution to protect their friends and girlfriends by claiming paternity, but there will also be cases in which the actual father will refuse to sign if there’s a millionth of a chance they aren’t. Rape victim? You’d better be absolutely certain the right man was identified, or else you’ll be the one going to jail, and that fact will be used to threaten you every step of the way. Rapists will be able to hold that waiver hostage to make the woman “confess” that there was consent, because you can bet proving legitimate rape will take long enough to push the pregnancy past the deadline to abort.

    If not, the law is in most cases less restrictive than parental consent is for underage girls seeking abortions. That’s not to say that it’s harmless, but if you need an abortion, you’d just need to find a non-blood-related male friend willing to sign the waiver. Raped women would probably have an easier time asking a friend to sign the waiver than proving “legitimate rape,” even with the rapist identified and in custody, since “legitimate rape” seems to be defined as “fully conscious so you can identify him, with at least two other witness against him, and having chewed at least one of your limbs off trying to get away”. Same with victims of spousal abuse. Or if you’re pregnant by your husband but he’s overseas, one of his friends or yours might have to fill in. So basically, the law would be completely useless except to bar women who don’t have any good male friends from ever getting abortions.

    What about if a woman needs an emergency abortion? The father (or “father”) of her fetus had better be her emergency contact and be immediately contactable, because I don’t see any exception given for medical emergencies. It would probably wise to keep a signed abortion permission waiver on hand, even in the case of planned, wanted pregnancies. The kids can later keep a framed copy; nothing says their father (or mother’s best male friend, in some cases) really loves their mother like written proof he cared more about her life than ideology.

  15. says

    People are already hitting on what this is really about: Another stall tactic to ensure that women can’t get the abortion within the allowed time.

    These people don’t care about women or children. They don’t even want to reduce the number of abortions. What they want is to punish women who have sex they don’t approve of. That’s what this has always been about.

  16. sonofrojblake says

    I would like to give notice that I am prepared to give my written notarised consent for an abortion to any woman in Missouri whom I have impregnated, or may have impregnated. No matter how unlikely it is that I am the father.

    If I had the tech skillz (with a z) and the time, I’d be inclined to set up a website where women who need someone to give their consent could be confidentially put in touch with “fathers” who are prepared to give that consent. I’m sure there’d be plenty of willing volunteers.

    Because if a law is self-evidently stupid, it’s (y)our duty to break it – which is to say to demonstrate that it is broken and therefore worthless.

    Or better still, just let’s not have that law in the first place, eh?

  17. phlo says

    I trust that in return the father will require the mother’s written permission if he wants to change jobs or move to another place in order to ensure continuous child support. Surely that’s part of the deal?!?

    Words cannot express the contempt I feel for people like Rick Brattin.

  18. says

    In related news, every man must obtain written consent from a woman before he sticks his baby-making parts into hers. Even if he had permission to do it yesterday, he must obtain permission again today.
    *waits for this to become reality*

  19. says

    @Sylvia Mcivers
    If they really cared about children and parental responsibility, they’d put forward bills like that.
    They’re not putting bills like that forward.

    If A, then B.
    Therefore Not-A.

    This has never been about abortion. It will never be about abortion. They don’t care the slightest little bit about abortions and fetuses. This is, and has always been, about punishing women for having sex. Punishing women, not men.

    At the end of the day, they don’t really accept women as full human beings. That’s the alpha and omega of this entire issue.

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