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Comment of the Week: Pro-Choice Means Giving Him a Choice, Too

Wed, Oct 28, 2009

Comment of the Week, Confessions

pro_choice_abortion_march

photo by internets_dairy

I’ve always known that I’m in a minority on this issue, but I’m going to voice it anyway.

I absolutely believe that if a mother doesn’t want the child and the father does, that she should carry the child to term and he raises the child. Is that “imposing” on the woman’s body? Perhaps. But they were equal partners in the situation knowing full well how a pregnancy works. They deserve to be equal partners in making the decision.

I am pro-choice, which in my mind says the man deserves a choice too. I think the fact that we as a society say “it’s a woman’s body, it’s her choice” helps to perpetuate irresponsible fathers who *don’t* participate in the decision and child-rearing. We send a message that the woman is dominant and the man is helpless. How can we do that and then be surprised that some men take the low-maintenance route.

I know my opinions are controversial. And I am a woman. I am a woman who also had an unplanned pregnancy where I didn’t know who the father was. I told both potential men and involved them both in the final decision of the child’s fate. Was it *ultimately* my choice? Yes. But the child was only half mine and the men deserved input on their own child’s future.

Period.

If I had wanted an abortion and one of them wanted to keep the child, I would have carried it for them. It’s not surrogacy. And it’s not “unfair” or “imposing rights on/over my body.” It’s dealing with the consequences of your actions. Women are equally as responsible as men in these situations and we know it. Taking away a man’s right to decide his child’s future is vile to me.

Katie, commenting on “Your Call: Do We Need Male Reproductive Rights?”

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8 Responses to “Comment of the Week: Pro-Choice Means Giving Him a Choice, Too”

  1. Evan Says:

    the men deserved input on their own child’s future.

    I agree with this, in principle – but that, I think, hasn’t really been the question. Ethically, of course the man deserves input. The nature of that input is the question.

    Should the rights of the man be legally codified? Must a woman, then, get the written permission of the man who impregnated her before getting an abortion? What if she doesn’t know who the father is? What if she lies about who the father is? Does paternity have to be legally established before the woman can get an abortion? What if the woman was raped? What if the woman was impregnated through spousal rape by an abusive partner? What if the woman had consensual sex, but claimed rape to take advantage of the likely exception for rape?

    Sorry, but while I agree that in an ideal world and with ideal relationships we should sit down and talk things though, that’s not the world we live in. And while it sucks that men don’t get the same control here that women do, we frankly have done pretty well in the whole gender fairness lottery.

  2. Eve Says:

    I agree that involving the man in the making of that decision is the ethical thing to do. I don’t think it should EVER be codified into law though. For the reasons outlined above by Evan, there are so many different situations where that just wouldn’t work. I was sexually abused my my father growing up. If he had ever impregnated me, there is no way in hell I would want him to have any say about whether I got an abortion.

    All of that aside, I think it should still ultimately be the woman’s decision. Not only am I not able or willing to raise a child at this point in my life, but carrying a pregnancy to term is a health and financial risk that I’m not willing to take for a child I don’t intend to raise. My partner doesn’t get any say in that, and I don’t think he should, because it’s MY health at risk, not his. However, he’s fully aware of all of this and has no problem with my decision. I think that people should always discuss with their sexual partners what would happen if an accidental pregnancy occurred to make sure they’re on the same page (before having sex, along with that STD talk you should also be having).

  3. Allie Says:

    I also agree that the father’s POV should be considered, but it comes down to this: in a 50-50 split, there has to be a tie-breaker. There can be no “agree-to-disagree” and not a lot of time to continue negotiations. If a woman is willing to carry to term and then surrender the child to it’s father, that is a wonderful option. Because pregnancy comes with financial, personal, and physical risks, the tie breaker must be the woman.

  4. Jessica Says:

    I agree with this post and the comments that followed. My biggest concern would be what if I carried the baby to term under the plan that he would raise the child. What if at some point along the road he upped and changed his mind? Legally, the child would become my responsibility unless I put it up for adoption.

    But, I think this is yet another reason why comprehensive sex ed is a must to reduce the # of unplanned pregnancies. Not to mention it would probably help foster an environment in which women did involve men in their decisions and were able to make a decision that they could both live with.

  5. sugarmag Says:

    That’s nice Katie but I hope you are talking about what you would do and not what the law should be. You have had an abortion but you have not given birth so really don’t know what that is like. I have given birth twice and let me tell you, carrying a pregnancy to term and giving birth is a big deal. Pregnancy carries with it significant risks and sacrifices and it should never be forced on any woman, ever.

  6. Doug Says:

    I find it shocking that so many women will advocate requiring a woman to carry a child against her will. Last time I checked, women have the right to choose and spent the last few decades fighting for and keeping that right to do what they want with their bodies. Whether or not you agree that women should have the right to choose, the fact is that Roe v. Wade stands and will never be repealed. My issue with this is how many people use the old (and misguided) addage that punishing people for stupid mistakes repeatedly means they will make less of them.

    I think both women AND men should have a choice (equal rights under the 14th ammendment and all) and it would not be too hard to codify it into a law. It should be the responsibility of the woman’s primary care provider to notify the man listed as the child’s father (note: this would require mothers to list a father before birth) within a week of discovering his identity if she plans on keeping the child. Then, the father gets to ahve his own choice. He can choose to stay there, support and pay child support or he can choose to have nothing to do with the child. That would entail a permanent retsraining order placed upon the father by the mother until and unless he begins to pay support. That way everybody gets a choice, and the woman knows how much support she is getting from the father and can make an informed decision. Perhaps with the knowledge she will have support she will choose to keep it, or with the knowledge she doesn’t she will choose to abort or put it up for adoption. However she chooses, it will give both sexes the reproductive rights they deserve.

  7. Spes Says:

    Again, I believe Doug has put it best and puts forth some feasible solutions. I, however, would like to highlight the point that women have been fighting for quite some time to have rights over their own bodies. Forcing a woman to carry a child to term just takes us leaps and bounds backward in the fight for women’s rights. Ethics should always be of concern, but not everyone’s ethic are the same just like their religion, which is why the law needs to stay far away from this issue beyond granting freedom choice to obtain an abortion. And let’s forget that just because a law exists doesn’t mean it’s always upheld. Again, I wish to remind you of the days of the coat hangers when women couldn’t get abortions. Do we really want to send women back to those dark times of pain and death?

  8. Molly Says:

    Sure it takes two to make a baby, but today one partner generally takes care of the birth control and the other partner must simply trust their partner to do the right thing. Whether it is the woman taking her pill at the right time every day or the man promising to wear the condom properly and alert his partner if it seems to have broken or slipped off, sometimes birth control rests more on one person than the other. Your belief is nice if a long-term couple makes an honest mistake, but if it became a law (needing the father’s consent for an abortion, for instance) then a man who wanted a child could fail to inform his partner if something goes wrong with the condom and then have a baby in 9 months. Or what if he says he wants the child but disappears? In certain situations, it might be a nice thing to do, but I can think of all sorts of situations where it would be TROUBLE.


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