The news is never good when it leads with the words “Scott Pruitt.” This story is no different, except that it’s more of a history lesson.
HuffPost reported on Thursday that when current Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt was in the Oklahoma state senate he twice submitted anti-abortion legislation aimed at granting men “property rights” over unborn fetuses. This bit of legal maneuvering would have required women to ask the men with whom they became pregnant for permission to pretty-please get an abortion.
Amazingly, these attempted bills have faded from public memory over time, but HuffPost’s report proposes many interesting reasons why this attempted legislation is of a piece with some of Pruitt’s behavior today, despite his blessed lack of control over abortion policy. HuffPost notes, for instance, that Pruitt has “appeared alongside President Donald Trump in meetings with evangelical leaders” and cites a report from April that found much of his support comes from right-wing evangelical Christians, a group that’s, for the most part, staunchly anti-abortion.
Progressive super PAC American Bridge tipped HuffPost off to the latent legislation. American Bridge’s senior director, Dawn Huckelbridge, told HuffPost, “It’s not surprising that another member of Trump’s inner circle is hostile to women. But framing a fetus as a man’s property is a new low.”
A little bit more on the Pruitt’s proposed anti-abortion legislation: it would have banned doctors from performing abortions without a signed permission slip from the father, or evidence that the man was nowhere to be found “after diligent effort.” Per HuffPost, if the pregnancy was a result of rape, the burden would again have been placed on the woman to “show the assault has been reported to law enforcement agency having the requisite jurisdiction.” So it would have been bad in many, many ways.