New Bill Allowing Fathers to Veto Abortions Introduced by Tennessee Lawmakers
Fathers' rights in abortion highlighted in new bill
Two Republican lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced a bill allowing fathers to prevent the mother from aborting their child.
State Sen. Mark Pody and state Rep. Jerry Sexton introduced the bill into the state senate, and Sexton introducing it in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
The bill reads:
“A person may petition a court with jurisdiction over domestic relations matters to request an injunction to prohibit a woman who is pregnant with the person’s unborn child from obtaining an abortion."
A father of an unborn child would need to file a petition with the court with a hearing held within 14 days.
The court could then issue an injunction to prevent the abortion, but only if certain conditions are met.
The petitioner must prove he “is the biological father of the respondent’s unborn child; There is a reasonable probability that the respondent will seek an abortion prior to giving birth to the unborn child.”
The father could also execute “a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity … that is not subject to being rescinded" if the couple is unmarried.
But the man would not be required to take a DNA test to prove he is the father.
Pody added the mother would also be able to make her case, defending her choice for an abortion, according to comments made to Fox 17 News.
If the injunction were issued by the court, it would “prohibit the respondent from seeking or obtaining an abortion.”
If the mother ignores the court ruling, she could be held “in civil or criminal contempt and punish the respondent in accordance with the law.”
Abortion advocates have blasted the proposed pro-life legislation.
Tennessee Democrat state Sen. Brenda Gilmore said:
“Always making the news and always about controlling a woman’s body. We cannot fund our schools to the fullest, but we can work our hardest to secure a woman’s womb,” she wrote.
Francie Hunt, executive director of Tennessee Advocates for Planned Parenthood, also blasted the bill, calling it “an unconstitutional, insulting, and dangerous bill. Nobody should have the power to make health care decisions for someone else — not a judge, a partner, and certainly not a rapist regardless of paternity.”
But Pody defended the bill, highlighting the father's rights in the life of the unborn child.
“If he can prove to the courts that he is the father, the biological father, then he has rights to what’s going on with his son or daughter.”
“In this case, we’re saying that we want that father who is just as much of a parent as that mother is, it took two of them to create this human being, and we believe that they should have that opportunity to raise that child,” Pody continued.
Pody and Sexton hope the bill will take effect on “July 1, 2021, the public welfare requiring it.”