Proposed Ohio law would require biological father’s consent before an abortion


An Ohio state legislator has introduced a bill that requires written permission from an unborn baby’s biological father before an abortion.

Rep. John Adams, a Republican from Sidney, Ohio, calls his bill H.B. 252 "Father’s Rights Regarding Abortion," Politics Daily reports. The legislation has more than a dozen co-sponsors in the Ohio House of Representatives, where Rep. Adams is Minority Whip.

"When the fetus that is the subject of the procedure is viable, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus," the bill’s text reads. "When the fetus that is the subject of the procedure is not viable, no person shall perform or induce an abortion on a pregnant woman without the written informed consent of the father of the fetus."

The bill would make abortion without a father’s permission or naming a "false biological father" into a first-degree misdemeanor with a maximum $1,000 fine. A second occasion of providing false information would be considered a fifth-degree felony.

In cases where the father is unknown, the pregnant woman would be required to submit a list of possible fathers and her doctor would have to conduct paternity tests so that permission to abort may be sought. In cases of rape or incest, the bill requires proof in the form of a court document, police report or indictment.

According to Politics Daily, Rep. Adams proposed similar legislation in 2007 but it failed after protests from Planned Parenthood.

CNA spoke with Rep. Adams in Friday afternoon phone interview.

He said that currently the law allows a father to have "no say" if a mother of his child wants to get an abortion.

"And that’s what the purpose of the bill is, to give him a say in whether that child can be terminated or not."

He characterized present law as engaging in "reproductive discrimination."

"It takes two to have a child. I don’t know why a father doesn’t have a say currently."

Asked whether Planned Parenthood was again protesting the bill, Rep. Adams said he believed it was.

CNA noted that some media reports describe the bill as advancing "A Man’s Right to Choose."

When asked his opinion of that description, Rep. Adams replied:

"Groups are going to say whatever they want to about the bill. I’ve been very clear about the purpose is.

"What you have is, the father of the child has no say. If the mother of the child decides to keep the child, that father has 18 years of financial responsibility.

"Basically it’s leveling the playing field."

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Asked whether he thought the bill could make men more morally complicit in abortions that do take place, he said he didn’t know.

"I’ve had men tell me [about the abortion of their children] ‘I wish I’d have known’ and ‘I wish that the outcome could’ve been different.’ That was the motivation for proposing the bill," he explained to CNA.

CNA also contacted Right to Life for Ohio and received a response from its legal counsel Mark Lally.

He said the bill intends to address the "inequity" in the treatment of the rights of mothers and fathers with regard to abortion.

"Although many fathers feel a strong parental bond to their unborn children and wish to protect them, current court rulings permit the mother to have an abortion for any reason and provide no rights to fathers who object to their child's death."

If the law were passed, Lally said, it would only change the outcome of abortion decisions when the father objected to the abortion.

"If the bill became law, it would be challenged as unconstitutional and could provide the courts with an opportunity to reconsider current rulings."

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