Sex & Society » Reproductive Rights, Men, Womens rights: "Where Do Fathers Fit In With a Woman’s Reproductive Rights?"

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Where Do Fathers Fit In With a Woman’s Reproductive Rights?

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In the United States, a woman can have an abortion with or without the consent of the unborn baby’s father. Is that how it should be?

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Contributor: Babblebeth

I think it depends on the relationship between the mother and father. I think if it's a fling then no he shouldn't have a say (the child support issue is another issue which I won't get into here) but if it's a husband or long term boyfriend then I think he should be at least consulted and his feelings taken into account.

I think the ultimate decision should always rest with the woman as it is her body but if she decides on it against his wishes if they've been open and honest they can either go their separate ways or get much needed counselling.

Ultimately it is a woman's body and I don't think she should have to get "permission" from anyone but getting your partners opinion on a big decision is just something you do in marriage.

Contributor: Babblebeth

Oh and one more thing. My husband agrees with my opinion that the woman should have final say.

Contributor: Champagne and Benzedrine (Roland Hulme)

I think the current situation has some DISGUSTING elements to it - like, as you mention Babblebeth, how a woman can have a fling and then terminate the baby without the father ever even knowing about it, or forcing him to pay child support for the rest of his life.

Denying fathers rights in the abortion debate is indefensible, but then again we supporters of a woman's right to choose are also defending an institution that is kind of indefensible. The only rational argument is that practicality outweighs ethics.

Contributor: sarahbear

Under many circumstances, the man had his right to decide if he wanted children when he did or did not use a condom during sex. Of course, the woman also has the ability to make similar decisions, but I just cannot get behind giving men any more authority to decide what happens to a woman's body as a result of pregnancy.

What about paternity? What if the presumed father is not the father, yet demands a child is carried to term, only to find out it isn't his child?

I can't even agree that in long term, committed relationships the father should have a say. Having children is a serious thing, and forcing a woman to carry a child she doesn't want may breed resentment towards the father and the child. A much easier solution to that issue would simply be to disagree and part ways, if children are that important to either party. That would be the responsible thing to do. Not forcing the woman you claim to love to incubate a child she doesn't desire to have.

On the other hand, I do think that men should have some rights as far as child support is concerned. There should be some form of allowing men to give up any parental rights and not have to pay child support. But then, the burden falls on the tax payers to help cover the costs of this unwanted child, and that wouldn't be a popular decision. It would also further demonize single parents.

This entire argument wouldn't be necessary if we focused on teaching people about how to prevent pregnancy and then they actually tried to prevent pregnancy with that knowledge.

Contributor: Champagne and Benzedrine (Roland Hulme)

Sarahbear - you highlight a lot of valid points, although I disagree with the one about condoms. The more we focus on how "it's a woman's body" and the man shouldn't have any say on the matter, the more we have to hold a woman 100% responsible for birth control (as, as a society, make sure she has easy and affordable access to it.)

But this? This is EXACTLY right: "This entire argument wouldn't be necessary if we focused on teaching people about how to prevent pregnancy and then they actually tried to prevent pregnancy with that knowledge."

Contributor: Silverdrop

If the technology ever existed to gestate a baby in an artificial womb, then I think the father should have the right to request that the embryo be transferred rather than terminated. But as long as the woman's body is being used as the baby factory, then the right is hers. Period. No woman should be forced to either have an abortion or carry a child against her will.

The legal rights and responsibilities of fathers after a birth is a completely separate issue. Combining it with the abortion debate is not useful.

Contributor: gloomybear

personally i believe tat it is te womans say if a man doesnt like that shes not ready he can easliy make a baby with a woman who is and as far as making them pay child support many men dont and unless ur willing to bring it to court they will continue not to

Contributor: authorzero

I'm glad this issue is being discussed. Frankly, I don't see an easy solution. I am strongly in favor of a woman's right to choose, and I also believe that because a woman's health, both mental and physical, is impacted by a pregnancy, sh obviously should have a right to make decisions. That being said, it isn't fair for a man to have absolutely zero rights in this situation. What happened to "equal' rights? Blaming the man because "he should have worn a condom" is an unacceptable argument. There are numerous forms of birth control for women; not to mention the fact that she could simply refuse to have sex unless he wears one. A woman is just as much responsible for birth control as a man.

One possibility, in the case of the father wanting the abortion when the mother doesn't, is to allow him to opt out of the child's life. No visitation, no child support, no responsibility. Is this a perfect solution? Absolutely not. Will many would-be fathers would likely take this option just to avoid paying child support. And what about couples in long-term relationships? How would this apply to them? Frankly

I don't see an easy solution to any of this, but I'm glad somebody's bringing it up. In a time where women are finally getting the rights they deserve, we still need to remember that men have rights too.

Contributor: Quinn

It's bullshit. NO ONE has the right to tell me what to do with my body; even my husband!

Contributor: Champagne and Benzedrine (Roland Hulme)

authorzero - LOVE this: "Blaming the man because "he should have worn a condom" is an unacceptable argument. There are numerous forms of birth control for women; not to mention the fact that she could simply refuse to have sex unless he wears one. A woman is just as much responsible for birth control as a man. "

Contributor: sarahbear

I don't believe the men are being blamed for the pregnancies in this discussion. Plus, like Roland said, if we start saying that women are responsible for birth control then they are also responsible for what happens to their bodies in the event of an undesired pregnancy, which goes back to suggesting men don't get a say in this.

Ultimately, all a man does is contribute sperm to the equation. If he desires to have a child, he needs to find a woman who wants a child and have one with her (or adopt a child). It is the woman's body that will suffer the consequences of whatever decision is made, and it is more than likely that the woman will also shoulder the majority of the burden of raising the child after pregnancy as well.

I think the biggest issue is that we continue to focus on the controversy of these issues instead of trying to get to the underlying cause of these issues. (P.S. I agree with Silverdrop about child support being a completely different issue all together, if that wasn't clarified in my previous comment.)

Contributor: Sass

Great article--I'm glad someone brought this up. It does take choice away from dads, and that's important to state. I still like a lot of choice centered on the female end of things for all the reasons stated. My best option is a Preventative Care strategy: I like a standard in flings or relationships wherein both partners handle the pregnancy conversation along with the STD's conversation. If she'd consider, or absolutely plans to have an abortion if birth control fails, she should speak up. If she would never consider abortion (or "plan B" type medication), she should say that also, before getting naked. And the potential-dad should express his desires, too. I have also known unintentional moms who say, "I'm going to bear and raise this kid, and since it wasn't your idea or our idea, I'm not going to hold you to any emotional or financial support." If a mom can pull it off herself, that's a rather ethical statement as well.



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