Editorials

Rep. Rick Brattin’s legitimately awful attempt to restrict abortion in Missouri

Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, has introduced a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to first get permission from the man responsible for the pregnancy.
Rep. Rick Brattin, a Harrisonville Republican, has introduced a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to first get permission from the man responsible for the pregnancy. Facebook

Why wait until January to begin the craziness that defines a session of the Missouri General Assembly? Rep. Rick Brattin has gotten the ball rolling early.

Brattin, a Republican from Harrisonville, has introduced a bill that would require a woman seeking an abortion to first get permission from the man responsible for the pregnancy.

It’s possible Brattin’s idea is too extreme even for the Missouri legislature. He actually introduced a similar bill in the spring that was buried in committee.

But it’s disturbing that an elected representative could display such ignorance about the complexity of relationships and the way the world works. Then there’s legal precedent. In the 1992 Casey v. Planned Parenthood decision, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a provision in a Pennsylvania law that required married women to inform their husbands before ending a pregnancy.

In trying to explain his reasoning, Brattin has made some remarkably absurd statements. He told a reporter from Mother Jones he would make an exception for victims of rape, but women would have to prove that a rape had actually occurred.

“So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion,” he said. “It has to be a legitimate rape.”

After the Todd Akin debacle, hearing another Missouri politician talk about “legitimate rape” is simply breathtaking.

Brattin has put forth the strange notion that a man needs permission from his spouse to obtain a vasectomy in Missouri. Therefore, women should get consent for an abortion. That argument has a boatload of problems, starting with the fact that Missouri has no law requiring spousal consent for a vasectomy.

Brattin’s bill is legitimately offensive. Legislative leaders should jettison it as quickly as possible.

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