A controversial bill proposed by two Republican Tennessee lawmakers would give the fathers of unborn children the ability to stop the mother from aborting, giving them veto power in the event the mother chooses to end their pre-born child’s life.
The bill, SB494/HB1079 was introduced by Sen. Mark Pody and Rep. Jerry Sexton. It has been sent to the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee and filed for the Tennessee House of Representatives. According to the language, it would:
ermit a person to petition a court for an injunction to prohibit a woman who is pregnant with the person’s unborn child from obtaining an abortion; requires the petitioner to execute a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity that is not subject to being rescinded or challenged. ”
Senator Pody told reporters that he introduced his bill after some of his constituents lamented that fathers do not have any control over the life of the child, and that this would give them some rights.
I believe a father should have a right to say what’s going to be happening to that child. 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, this has enraged more than a few pro-choice activists, who have decried this as tantamount to forced birth. They say that if enacted, all the women will have to do is deny the involvement of the man, saying they cheated on him or weren’t exclusive, making paternity impossible to prove. One woman grimly said that in the event paternity could be proven, she would take drastic measures.
The Executive Director of ACLU Tennessee, Hedy Weinberg, said in a statement, “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.”
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