Just when you thought its track record on women’s rights couldn’t sink any lower, Oklahoma takes a nose dive.
Yesterday, senators met to discuss Bill 1549, legislation which seeks to ban abortions in the case of a genetic abnormality. Present for the debate on women’s reproductive rights were nine men and, in an unexpected turn of events, three women (although none seemed to actually be taking part).
And during that debate, Republican George Faught said while rape and incest “may not be the best thing that ever happened” they were indeed the will of God.
Read more: Why I had an abortion at 35
Oklahoma is already one of the most difficult states in the USA to receive an abortion. According to the Guttmacher Institute, in order to obtain an abortion a woman must first undergo state-directed counselling that “includes information designed to discourage her from having an abortion”, before waiting 72 hours before the procedure can take place.
That’s if she can afford it in the first place. Both private and public health insurance (including those covered under the Affordable Care Act) only cover abortions in cases where the women’s life is endangered. And with only five abortion-providing facilities in Oklahoma at the last count, you should probably throw in some travel expenses, too.
Sounds tough, huh? But wait, there’s more! Abortions are also currently capped at 20 weeks, again unless the women’s life is endangered. Despite being “inconsistent with scientific evidence” and entirely rejected by the medical community, this law is based on the assumption that a foetus can feel pain at that point.
With Oklahoma recently being crowned America’s most Pro-Life state for the second year running, Bill 1549 should come as no surprise. In the video below we see Democrat Representative Cory Williams ask Faught if he thinks rape is the will of god.
Giving the type of candid and direct response we’ve come to expect from American politicians, Faught replies: “Well, if you read the Bible, there’s actually a couple circumstances where that happened. The Lord uses all circumstances. I mean, you can go down that path, but it’s a reality unfortunately.”
Williams then presses his counterpart further: “Is incest the will of god?”
When Faught shrugs “Same answer. Doesn’t deal with this bill,” his passion for the plight of vulnerable women and victims of sexual abuse is palpable.
Thankfully, Williams is not deterred. “You are proffering a divine intervention as the reason why you won’t [make exceptions for rape and incest] and so I think it is very important. This body wants to know – and myself personally – whether you believe rape and incest are actually the will of God,”
Faught’s retort comes straight out of the Trump/Conway handbook:
“It’s a great question to ask. Obviously if it happens in someone’s life, it may not be the best thing that ever happened, but – so you’re saying that God is not sovereign with every activity that happens in someone’s life and can’t use anything and everything in someone’s life and I disagree with that.”
Who can argue with that logic?
The debate comes months after the same court ruled that oral sex with someone so drunk they're “completely unconscious” is not a crime and another Oklahoma Representative referred to women’s bodies as mere ‘hosts’ for unborn foetuses. We can now add Bill 1549 to the shady track record, as the legislation was passed by the House of Representatives in a landslide victory of 67 votes to 17. Slow clap for Oklahoma.
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Images: Getty / Oklahoma House of Representatives