"There are two things in the world for which a woman would do anything. To have a baby or not to have a baby."
Who should have the right?
Ideally, becoming pregnant should be a happy event. Something expected. Something the couple is waiting for. The baby would be developing in the womb of the mother, changing her body, and being closer to her than to anyone ever in the world. But that does not mean the father cannot love the baby. It does not mean he could not have a deep bond to his child, and could not mean the world to him.
Even in the best families there might be bad circumstances for a child; poor health, not enough money (raising kids is expensive, after all) or just simply bad timing. In a well-functioning relationship the decision whether or not to welcome a new child into the family cannot and should not only be the mother’s, as it would change the life of everyone in the family. Under normal circumstances the father should have say. He should be understanding and supportive, whatever reasons the mother might have for not wanting to keep the baby. It should be a decision made by the two of them, in understanding. So yes, the father should have a say, and it should matter. But how can it be regulated?
But we do not live in a perfect world. When it needs to be considered whether to keep a baby or not, things are far from ideal. What if the woman was raped? It is easy to rule that the rapist does not have parental rights. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.
What if the baby is the result of a fling? What if the mother wanted a baby badly enough to trick the father into impregnating her, either because she wants a baby or because she wants to tie the father to herself? Could/should the baby be taken away just because the father does not want it while the mother loves it?
Ruling that only husbands have parental rights is no good either, many couples live together without marrying – that should be no reason for a loving father to be denied his children.
What if it was the father who tricked the woman into getting pregnant? That could happen even in a relationship or marriage. Could a woman be forced to bear a child she does not want? Knowing she could harm herself and the child just to get rid of the unwanted pregnancy?
In the end I can only “rule” that ‘good fathers’ should have a say if they want the baby or not, and ‘bad fathers’ should not. But that is not something that can be put down as law. While it is a horrible thing to deny the child from the father, forcing the mother either to keep or abort her child leaves way for a lot more abuse than leaving the father out of the decision does. In the end, legally, the decision should only be the mothers. It is her body, her life. But that does not mean she should not share the burden with the ‘good father’.