A Man’s Right to Choose
by D Dupont-Day
I am not going to debate the issue of Roe v. Wade. Nor am I going to debate the issue of when life begins. Those arguments are for another time and place. The issue at hand here is should the father have some say in abortion. The answer is clearly yes, and I am prepared to explain why.
Assuming the woman did not become pregnant by divine intervention, logic holds that a man was 50 percent responsible for the resulting pregnancy. That being the case, why is the woman allowed 100 percent decision-making power and the male allowed 0 percent decision-making power? From the moment a woman becomes pregnant, the man’s wishes, desires, and rights cease to exist. Does that sound fair? Of course not.
The same inequity holds when dealing with the issue of child support. If the man does not want to be a father, why is he given 0 percent ability and recourse to declare his intentions not to be a father? These both seem blatant examples of gender-based discrimination.
I know a young man who does not want to be a father. He knows in his heart of hearts that he is neither ready nor willing to assume a parental role; always taking every precaution to prevent pregnancy. Even though he insists the woman he is with is taking proper preventative precautions, i.e., birth control pill, he also wears a condom … every single time.
However, if the unthinkable were to happen and she did become pregnant, why is he not allowed to share in the decision about whether to terminate the pregnancy? In this particular case, if the woman decides to terminate the pregnancy, they are in complete agreement as they were when they laid down together.
Let’s assume that once discovering she is pregnant, she decides to carry the baby to term and raise the child. This young man has never been ambiguous about his desire not to be a father. He wants her to have an abortion. But he has no control and no legal right to demand she terminate the pregnancy. If the woman decides not to terminate the pregnancy, he is mandated by law to provide financial support: for a child he never intended to have.
Let’s now assume a woman does not feel emotionally, financially or spiritually ready for motherhood. I agree she should not be forced into the position of raising a child. This is monumentally detrimental to all people involved, most importantly, the child. But if the man is ready, willing and able to raise the child and clearly wants to assume parental responsibility, shouldn’t he have the same right? Why is geography (the location of the fetus) the reason for allowing or disallowing him the gift of his child?
People will argue that it is her body and she has the right to control her body. But what is growing inside her is only 50 percent hers. The other 50 percent does not belong to her. It belongs to the man with whom she had sex. She is just the container the fetus is wrapped in. And she should have no more right to make such a decision unilaterally than he does to demand it.
We are a country of laws and the laws either apply to us all equally or they are wasted ink on paper. Reproductive laws, as with all laws in this country, should not be gender based. Granted, the woman’s body, not the man’s, is physically altered whether she carries the pregnancy to term or chooses to have an abortion. But allowing the ultimate decision to be made without the participation of all involved parties is simply wrong. Again, the inequality is staggering. And as I stated at the start of this article, to do otherwise sexual discrimination at it core. And we, as a country should be better than that.