The first, Rep. George Faught’s House Bill 1549, was returning for a second year. Under the measure, a woman would be blocked from aborting a fetus because it has — or is suspected of having — a genetic abnormality, regardless of how early she sought termination. Although the measure made it out of the House in 2016, it languished in the Senate.
The bill was taking a complicated and personal issue and turning it into a cut-and-dry measure that in part seemed intended to pit disability activists and reproductive rights advocates against each other, Chowning thought.
But to Chowning and other members of the coalition, it was the second bill, HB 1441, that was even more disturbing, devoid of any nuance and completely unconstitutional. Written by another of the chamber’s freshmen, Rep. Justin Humphrey, the legislation would require a woman seeking an abortion first to obtain written permission from her sexual partner. It would also require her to provide his name to her doctor and would forestall the procedure if the man wanted the opportunity to challenge paternity.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar provision in 1992.