Health

Lawmaker Defends ‘Legitimate Rape’ Bill

CREDIT: Screenshot

Missouri Rep. Rick Brattin (R)

A Missouri lawmaker who filed a bill requiring women seeking abortions to obtain notarized consent from the man who impregnated them defended the measure in an interview with 41 Action News on Thursday.

“It took two to come together and create a child, and right now the way it is the woman gets the full say and the father gets no say, and I think that that needs to change,” Brattin said. “With the women’s movement for equal rights, well it’s swung so far we have now taken away the man’s right and the say in their child’s life.” He added, “It’s a child’s life that’s taken. The woman’s life is not altered.”

Brattin’s bill includes an exception for victims of “legitimate rape” who report the crime to the police.

“Just like any rape, you have to report it, and you have to prove it,” Brattin told Mother Jones earlier this month. “So you couldn’t just go and say, ‘Oh yeah, I was raped,’ and get an abortion. It has to be a legitimate rape… I’m just saying if there was a legitimate rape, you’re going to make a police report, just as if you were robbed.”

Provisions that require women to prove the “legitimately” of sexually assault are a standard feature of state-level bans on Medicaid funding for abortion and many states force rape victims to produce a police report to obtain coverage for an abortion. Sexual assault prevention experts, however, point out that rape is a vastly underreported crime, with the majority of victims never reporting the assault to authorities. According to one study, just 37 percent of the women who qualify for eligible abortions under Medicaid’s exceptions actually end up getting their procedures funded by the program.

The bill, which is still in committee, would also establish a 72-hour waiting period for abortion procedures.