Why Men Should Be Included in Abortion Discussion

While men are groping for ways to be honest about all things sexual—abuse, orientation, dysfunction—they don’t yet seem to have the language to talk about abortion experiences.

When I was in high school, one of my friends got a secret abortion. Though I wasn’t raised in a religious household, I remember taking a sheet of white, clean paper and writing a series of haphazard prayers that I then hid in my sock drawer.

One of them was for Cody*, my friend’s bewildered boyfriend. She wanted nothing to do with him, though he was trying his 17-year-old-teenage-boy best to be supportive; she said it felt like Cody had done this to her. I understood, but I also knew that he must be—as she was—holding it together all day, crying alone at night, utterly confused. Though raised Catholic, he too thought an abortion was the right decision, but had no role in the ritual of that choice.

I think of Cody from time to time and wonder what he’s doing now. I recently heard a rumor that he’s gone on to study theology. I can’t help but wonder if that decision was in some way informed by the conversation he was never able to have—with her, with friends, with mentors, with his version of god—about his experience of abortion.

After all, where is a pro-choice man who wants guidance, community or counseling around his experience of abortion to turn?

In the public sphere, the most vocal mention of men and abortion comes in virulently unsympathetic forms: government officials’ ethically indefensible, not to mention totally impractical, attempt to chip away at Roe v. Wade with consent laws (see the recent Ohio bill), or pro-life propaganda dressed up as counseling for men. It is no surprise that our pathetic excuse for sex education in this country makes little mention of abortion and/or the ways in which men might be affected by it.

In the clinical sphere, already spread-too-thin therapists and medical staff pay little attention to men’s involvement. Ninety-eight percent of clinic counselors are female, so a man hoping to discuss his feelings with a peer is largely out of luck.

In the most comprehensive study of men and abortion to date, Arthur Shostak, a professor of sociology at Drexel University, who describes himself as “unswervingly pro-choice,” found that men’s single greatest concern was the well-being of their sex partner and, further, that a majority of men would like to accompany their partners throughout the procedure. Most clinics don’t allow men beyond the waiting room, something Shostak says is evidence that many think of men as “coat holders and drivers.”

And in the private sphere, men struggle to reach out to one another about their experiences for a variety of reasons. A stigma against abortion overall remains (more oppressive in some geographies than others, of course), often keeping both women and their partners silent with even the closest of friends and family. In the same way that contemporary men are still groping for ways to be honest with one another about all things sexual—abuse, orientation, dysfunction—they just don’t seem to have the language to talk about their abortion experiences.

Few young men have fathers or mentors who have authentically modeled opening up about the very common experience of unexpected pregnancy. Wisecracks and silence are still the norm, despite the fact that, according to the Guttmacher Institute, about half of American couples have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and at current rates, more than one-third (35 percent) of women will have had an abortion by age 45.

The pro-choice movement, and feminists in general, seem to have historically shied away from the difficult but imperative task of involving men in conversations about abortion. It is understandable that the movement has been weary; no hot-button issue brings out more manipulation than this one. But it is time that feminists’ commitment to equality, as well as the quality of both women and men’s lives, trumps their fear that acknowledging men’s hardships will only serve as fodder for pro-life spin doctors. There must be a way to talk about men’s perspectives and experiences without compromising women’s bodies.

Men speak out

Jack*, a 28-year-old male, describes the abortion that his girlfriend went through a few years ago as “a really, really tough decision, but one that we made together, as partners.” Though he looks back on the experience with some sadness, he also sees it as a pivotal moment in the development of his own identity as a man. “The experience really made me man up—get out of debt, figure out a job, and get my shit together, generally,” Jack reflects. “It made me realize that, A, I did want to have a kid someday and, B, that the woman I was with is who I wanted to have a kid with.”

Jack looked to close friends for support—one male, one female—but felt somewhat abandoned while actually in the clinic waiting room: “I remember sitting there feeling terrified. I would have appreciated someone to talk to who had been through that moment.”

On the political level, Jack is unabashedly pro-choice. He believes that neither men, nor other women, should have any legal right to dictate what a woman does with her own body. But he does feel that the missing dialogue about men and abortion is detrimental: “If guys were talking about their experiences more it would bring added depth and a new understanding to this complicated issue.” Jack and his partner were married last year.

Not all guys report experiencing such a spirit of communication, support and reflection throughout difficult abortions. Philip*, a 27-year-old, regrets his inability to handle the significance of his girlfriend’s abortion. He received little support at the time and still—years later—feels like he hasn’t truly processed what he went through.

After his girlfriend determined that she was, indeed, pregnant, there was little discussion over the options. Philip described it more as an automatic attitude of “OK, let’s take care of it,” meaning schedule an abortion immediately.

In the days leading up to the abortion, Philip found himself incapable of acknowledging the complexity of what was about to take place, instead relying on humor to cope with what he now sees as fairly deep feelings. He explains, “I frequently tried to inject humor into the situation, something I know wasn’t appreciated by my partner. In the days between the positive test and the abortion, I grew somewhat detached and distant. I wanted to be present emotionally, but I was overwhelmed.”

Philip’s partner determined who was “allowed to know”—limited to a few close friends and her mother. He turned to these close friends, but found “his boys” as ill-equipped as he was to handle the depth of the situation. Instead of gaining insight into how to support his partner through serious circumstances, he became even more prone to make light of it. “There were times when I minimized its importance and made it out to be no big deal,” Philip remembers. “I thought that might make it easier for both of us. I thought acknowledging the magnitude of the event would only add to the stress and sadness.”

Philip and his partner have since split up. He sums it up: “My emotional absence stings me to this day, since it was such a significant ordeal in both of our lives. My distance and lack of grace made my partner feel alone, and that hurts.”

As more brave voices—like Jack’s and Philip’s—make their way into both alternative and mainstream media, perhaps boys and men can find a way to enter into dialogue with one another, and with their partners, about how abortion has affected their lives.

There is a growing, though still inadequate, movement to address men’s experiences of abortion. At the forefront is Shostak, author of Men and Abortion, Losses, Lessons, and Loves, which is based on a survey involving more than a thousand men who responded to questionnaires in the waiting rooms of 30 clinics located in 18 states. Other books are not explicitly aimed at but address men, such as Unspeakable Losses: Understanding the Experience of Pregnancy Loss, Miscarriage & Abortion, by Kim Kluger-Bell, and The Choices We Made, by Angela Bonavoglia. Online, pro-choice men can find support at www.menandabortion.com, a site founded in 2006 and still in development.

There is a price to both men and women when men don’t feel supported or safe to talk about their experiences with a partner’s abortions. Men can be pushed further into anxious masculinity, subconsciously convinced that if the world acts like their feelings don’t matter, they’ll just pretend not to have them. Women are then burdened with both the physical responsibility of the abortion and the entire emotional responsibility of processing what it means.

If both men and women feel like they have a role in the procedure and healing—however that’s interpreted by partners, depending on their spiritual and/or political beliefs—we will be healthier as a whole. Perhaps men, freed from the shackles of silence, will also be more prone to help out in the important work of keeping Roe v. Wade intact and abortion safer and less stigmatized for everyone.

*Names listed are pseudonyms.

This post originally appeared on AlterNet.org.

photo by Andrew Feinburg, Flickr

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Comments

  1. This one hits to close to home.

    It’s all well and good to have a support network for guys dealing with abortion but I think the real problem is a lot of men aren’t included at the most fundamental level with their significant others. The decision is made for most guys. From there, everything takes on a defeatist attitude because we know our input essentially doesn’t matter.

    My case, which was well-chronicled on these pages in a piece called “Confronting Life,” was different but the descriptions of the waiting room and being kept at arm’s length away from my wife still haunts me. But I wasn’t sure how to act or feel. Should I be strong and silent and provide a shoulder to cry on, or was I also allowed to cry and grieve? And should I be grieving something that technically never was?

    It’s a very tough issue that not many people have expounded upon and it’s nice to see the start of that here.

  2. Consent to fatherhood would be a very useful concept to bred into society.

    If she hasn’t got consent to fatherhood, she can do what she likes he can be free of the responsibility, if he choses, while at the same time, if she has – he must be included.

    • I agree, but I think that decision would have to be made before you had sex, ideally – protected or unprotected.

      • I don’t think that there should be children or a mandatory legal claim on the mans responsibility without consent regardless of protection used at the time. Birth control fails, people can lie about birth control, it can be sabotaged and couples can get caught up in the moment .

        If women were educated about real consent to fatherhood, and men have the option to legally abort, there would be no Jerry Springer show, very few single mothers and a much smaller prison population, IMO.

      • Yes Livy I agree, the decision should be made before, and if she doesn’t inform that she intends to have a child or has one despite the agreement he should not forced into fatherhood.

      • How is that diffenrent from consent to motherhood? Doesn’t a woman make that choice when she has sex?

        Of course she, does, but that isn’t the point. In either instance.

    • CandidCutie says:

      Yes, the responsibility for birth control was 50/50 at this time pregnancy prevention has become the sole responsibility of women. The number of birth control methods for women are endless yet for men it is either a condom or surgery. The logical stance is to advocate for more birth control options for men as opposed to penalizing a child for just being born. The logic being for men who fear, at risk of or do not want to have an unplanned pregnancy, having more birth control options that do not rely upon trusting the word of a partner would most certainly decrease the chances of having fatherhood force upon them.

  3. I understand that the experience may be traumatic for some men but ultimately, if we believe (as I do) that a woman should have complete autonomy over her body, the choice to have an abortion is hers and hers alone. It’s her biological burden, not his.

    • If she commits some sort of reproductive fraud, entrapment for example, it becomes his biological burden with the threat of state violence. I think that consent to fatherhood would be good in that sort of instance.

      • Men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by taking appropriate precautions. Wear a condom, even if she says she’s on the pill, for example. Of course, no birth control method is infallible (except permanent methods, like vasectomy), so both parties are taking a risk that pregnancy may result. I see your point that it can be unfair to men to have to support a child they don’t want, but that’s a risk you take by having sex. The woman has to risk her physical health and economic future (being a single mother is no picnic — a lot of men don’t or can’t pay support). Answer: don’t have sex unless you are in a committed relationship and willing to accept the risk of children. That’s what women have been told for generations so it shouldn’t be a surprise to men. If you don’t want to go that far, there are risks you have to live with, including STD’s and parenthood.

        • While that is true it seems that instead of telling everyone about the risks of sex, people are now just swinging the pendulum the other way. Like now when it comes to risky sex the advice seems to be tell women, “Here are these services to help you out” while men are simply told, “you should have kept it in your pants” (as if its horribly wrong to tell a woman she should have kept it out of her pants).

        • Ok Jill, Ill mirror you. If a woman doesn’t want a child, she should use birth control. If you have no recognition of a need for choice for me, I don’t see any reason to support choice for you.

          Pro-life, sign me up.

          • I agree with you 100%, women absolutely have a responsibility to use birth control. But unintended pregnancy is the risk that everybody runs by having sex. If you choose to have sex with a woman you assume that risk. You can avoid the whole problem by getting a vasectomy or not having sex unless you are ready for potential fatherhood. That’s your choice.

            If you want to take choice away from women that either means forcing women to have abortions they don’t want, or forcing them to take the biological risks of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s a question of bodily autonomy. The man only risks being financially responsible for a child he doesn’t want, and while I’m not downplaying the negative consequences for men, as it could be a financial burden, it’s a fundamentally different issue. This is also something you are hopefully discussing with women you are in relationships with, making it very clear that if she gets pregnant you will want her to get an abortion because you don’t want to support her children. If she says he’s anti abortion and would never have an abortion then you should get a vasectomy or find another girlfriend.

            • No Jill there is more to it than you are able to see from your gynocentric position.

              Woman lies about b/c or b/c fails, she gets pregnant and has the child, employs the state to collect money from the victim under the threat of violence, the victim loses his job and falls behind on the debts and men in costumes order him to be locked in a cage. Its about a mans bodily integrity too.

              And no one suggested forcing women to have abortions, that would be absurd. I’m suggesting, to make a point that if gynocentric and misandric feminists or women in general, won’t support ideas like consent to fatherhood and LC4M, despite the fact that in the present situation women can and do abuse the system, men and children to the detriment of society, perhaps more men should should return the favour and become pro-life until women like you learn that equality is a two way street.

              Educating women to respect true consent to father-hood and to be less selfish about bringing children into the world in less than ideal situations would be an improvement on the present chaos. Your attitude and your movement is the reason that there are matriarchal ghettos and shows like Jerry Springer, you erased the concept of fatherhood and consent to fatherhood in whole demographics much the delight of the prison industrial complex.

            • What about accidental pregnancy? You are assuming that scores of women are out there lying about their birth control or intentionally getting pregnant. Not saying that doesn’t happen but most unintended pregnancy is just that, unintended.

              Also, if you are going pro life to punish women, you seem to have your priorities screwed up. Less access to abortion = more men supporting kids they don’t want, which is what you are complaining about.

              I recently read that 1/3 of women in the US will have an abortion by age 45. I think the number of women having abortions far exceeds the number intentionally trapping men into fatherhood.

              Personally I don’t know any women who would want to have a baby if the father wasn’t supportive. In fact it’s the opposite. When I had a pregnancy scare in college, I told my boyfriend that I would get an abortion. He got very upset and said he wanted me to have the baby and his parents would raise it. Luckily it was a false alarm. But, seriously, most women these days are delaying motherhood rather than the opposite.

            • I an including accidental pregnancy, if the pregnancy is accidental, by definition there is no consent to fatherhood.

              I don’t really want to object to abortion, I brought that up to demonstrate a “what if men decided to be as unreasonable as gynocentric feminists and we said, you had sex, you got pregnant now tough luck”. I was putting the shoe on the other foot.

              You might not know any women that wouldn’t have a child with a supportive man, (men cant speak up anyway and women don’t readily admit to these things so you might well know one) or went ahead and chose to be a single mother by choice, or got pregnant for welfare or had a child for some unsuitable and willing man and asked the state to collect money with violent menaces, but that doesn’t mean that a good proportion of children today arent born into these less than ideal circumstances, our prisons are full of the offspring of these women and as I mentioned, as a result whole demographics have lost the concept of fatherhood.

              Although there are some rational voices from both feminism and the mens movement on the matter.

              “Karen DeCrow, former president of the National Organization for Women, writes:
              “If a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring a pregnancy to term, and the biological father does not, and cannot, share in this decision, he should not be liable for 21 years of support … autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice.”
              To date, courts have refused to respect men’s reproductive rights even in the most extreme cases, including: when child support is demanded from men who were as young as 12 when they were statutorily raped by older women; when women have taken the semen from a used condom and inserted it in themselves, including from condoms used only in oral sex; and when a woman has concealed her pregnancy from her former partner (denying him the right to be a father) and then sued for back and current child support eight or ten years later.”
              h tt p://mensightmagazine.com/Articles/Sacks/roevwade.htm

        • Do you see the double standards you are going by? If a man should have to accept a child he doesn’t want, why shouldn’t a woman?

          Do you also see how you are objectifying the man’s child into nothingeness. after, it’s pretty immature to think that pregnancy is only about what happens to a woman’s body.

    • Anonymous Male says:

      Jill,

      I agree with you 100%, but I’m not sure anyone posting so far is saying that allowing space for men to be involved means restricting reproductive rights of women. At least I for one would sugges that men can have a little more involvement in some cases without a loss of women’s autonomy or rights.

      For example, I know of one clinic where the staff talks to the patient privately about who can and can’t be present in the room with her. No one gets to be in the room with her without her permission, and within limits anyone she does allow can be with her. Seems to me much more sensible to let it be the patient’s choice instead of a blanket “no men” policy. Of course, it’s understandable that abortion providers might be uptight about security, but it seems extreme to keep all men out.

    • I agree with “her body her choice”, I also agree with “his wallet his choice”. If a woman can decide to abort or not once she realises she’s pregnant, a man should be able to decide whether he wants to be a father or not when he discovers his sexual partner is pregnant. Women no longer need men to support them, they are quite capable of working for their own living. The model of the man supporting a pregnant woman is very 20th century.

  4. It seems that people recognize the biological consequences of abortion and simply conclude that since he’s not carrying the child then he should be totally shut out of the process. I honestly think that is a big factor in causing a lot of bitterness among men when it comes to it (also bearing in mind that the practice seems to be to totally shut the man out until the child is born and then all of sudden he’s useful, aka walking wallet).

    If people want to actually include men in this (doesn’t have to be the final say but at least a “hey how are you feeling” conversation?) then this “if you don’t ovulate, stay out of the debate” mentality has to go.

  5. Richard Aubrey says:

    Men have the language. In this country, it’s English, mostly. What they don’t have is anyplace to speak it on this subject that won’t get them slammed as MRA assholes.
    Other than that….

    • Few things Richard, you are calling all mra’s assholes, they are not and its the men’s rights movement that are making men aware that they are getting the short end, and teaching men to stand up for themselves. You report that you are chosing to allow your speech to be controlled through shaming language. Stand up for your own rights and what you believe in, if a feminist or anyone tries to use shaming tactics to silence you, tell them you know exactly what they are doing, why they are doing it and where to go.

  6. I would have appreciated at least some effort to include quotes from men who have experienced abortion but who are not so decidedly pro-choice.

  7. So the pro-life movement are housing their agenda in compassion for men and now here we have a representative of the feminist movement saying that feminism should do the same. I’ll put my stock in the men’s rights movement before I will either of these concern trolling groups.

    And this “While men are groping for ways to be honest about all things sexual—abuse, dysfunction”.

    Is there any sign of women doing the same or is that still verboten speech and something to be hidden behind manipulated states ?

  8. edit – stats not states

  9. Richard Aubrey says:

    ACO.
    Where to start? Reading classes, most likely.
    I did not say MRAs are assholes. I said that men who try to talk about their experiences wrt abortion are slammed as MRA assholes. By other people.
    Since I haven’t been associated with abortion one way or another, I have no personal experiences about which to talk.
    I have, however, read some feminist sites for some time.
    Standing up to shaming language, or even disagreeing on a matter of fact, will get you banned from feminist sites. ’cause you’re a MRA asshole.

  10. There are some men allowed beyond the waiting room: those involved in abortion care.

    I’m a male medical student writing about my experience learning how to perform abortions. It’s long-winded and introspective, but it’s a view behind the curtain.

    vacuumaspirations.tumblr.com

  11. To be honest, I have known since I was a teenager that if I ever had an unwanted pregnancy, I would get an abortion regardless of who I was with or how he felt about it. I’m not emotionally prepared for a child at this point in my life, nor do I have the resourses or time for one. Quite early on, my boyfriend decided we needed to have a talk about what would happen if we had an unwanted pregnancy. We were both happy to find that we had the same opinion on the matter. I’m glad he decided to have this talk early on, so that it would never be an issue in the future. Making a plan when you’re not under pressure is definitely the way to go, and because we’ve already talked about it we don’t have to hide anything if this stressful situation ever comes up. I think this is a key compatibility issue, and men should be willing to bring it up if the woman isn’t saying anything. I think a man deserves the right to know what the woman wants, and to express what he wants. I would certainly want my boyfriend in the room with me if he thought it would be easier on him. `

  12. Perhaps the questions to ask are WHY a woman might not tell her partner (and/or want to control who knows about the abortion) and WHAT men can do in order to ensure that their partners will involve them in the decision making process. BTW-there are numerous studies that rate the opinion of the father as the most heavily weighted factor in determining whether a woman will terminate an unintended pregnancy.

    I have had two unintended pregnancies; the first one ended in a miscarriage before the surgical abortion my partner and I had scheduled and another that ended in a chemical abortion without the father’s knowledge. I was on a medication that can cause serious birth defects and using multiple methods of birth control both times.

    What made me tell one partner and not the other? The first time the father was a gentle, sensitive man who was supportive of me, understood that I had both emotional and physical consequences when terminating, and held my hand while the baby died inside of me. We talked extensively about how an abortion would effect both of us emotionally and financially.

    The second time I became pregnant the father was someone who every time I was in a difficult situation made it all about him: how hard it was for him emotionally that I was in the ER with heart problems, how hard it was for him that my father died, etc. Whenever the chips were down and I really needed him, he had tantrums, sulked, etc. So when I really needed someone to be there for me, he was not an option. I told one of my male friends; he was kind and supportive, wiped my tears, cooked me food, and took me to follow up appointments. I could not have coped with caring for the father emotionally while I went through a horribly difficult emotional and physical trauma.

    For the guys (not men, there is a difference) who think that they should have a legal role in deciding whether or not a woman should have an abortion: I felt a child die inside me, puked until my throat bled, hemorrhaged so badly I needed blood, had to have a follow up procedure to remove retained tissue, experienced pain for weeks that Vicodin did not touch, and bled for 40 days afterwards. When you can go through THAT physical experience alongside a partner, then you get to have a legal role in the decision making process.

  13. I remember thinking about this topic a lot when I was in high school. I had been identifying as a feminist since I was 11, and always believed that government had no place in dictating the decisions women were or were not allowed to make over their bodies, especially in regards to pregnancy, but I faced the conflict posed in this article in high school when the reality of becoming sexually active became more realistic. I wasn’t like most men when it came to the idea of having sex. I always thought of sex as an incredible responsibility to determine that one was actually ready to take the possible risk of being responsible for another human being’s life, and so, for the most part, I tended to avoid sexual intimacy with women altogether. When the evasion became unavoidable to my hormones, I started questioning the whole idea of abortions and whether or not I would condone the abortion of my own child in the event of an accidental pregnancy. My girlfriend used every possible precaution: she went on the pill, we always used condoms, and I went as far as always pulling out in the case that the former two ever failed me somehow. Many times, as my girlfriend and I both collectively came out of the closet as queer individuals open to experiences with both genders, we joked about open relationships where we could get our sexual satisfaction solely from same-sex interactions so not that we could ensure a 100% probability of never randomly creating a child. Its not that we opposed procreation. We loved each other very much and definitely hoped to have kids someday, but at the age of 18 it was clear to us that several years and our college degrees needed to arrive first before we could begin to consider that option. Regardless, the thought remained in the back of my mind about how I would feel if she ever DID get pregnant with my baby and then decided to have an abortion without telling me. Despite my feminist and pro-choice views, I remember being overwhelmed with emotion and even rage at the idea of not being included in the decision making process. Of course, I understood that the impact of the choice would have greater bearing on her than on me, but still, I wanted to know that I would be able to share and struggle through that experience with her. It has to do with the trust and love of the relationship. I feel that if my partner isn’t open to sharing with me and talking to me about whether or not its right to have an abortion, I would feel that the relationship has failed altogether. I think that I would have a general stance of wanting to keep the child… but at the same time, I’m not completely unreasonable. I have every faith that those would be decisions we could reach together, even if it comes down to me simply respecting her right to the safety and wellness of her own body. I just want to be part of that conversation when it comes, if it ever comes, and know that I was there with her to respond to whatever outcomes. That’s what a true loving relationship is all about. Its the only way these things can really work.

    • Despite my feminist and pro-choice views, I remember being overwhelmed with emotion and even rage at the idea of not being included in the decision making process. Of course, I understood that the impact of the choice would have greater bearing on her than on me, but still, I wanted to know that I would be able to share and struggle through that experience with her. It has to do with the trust and love of the relationship. I feel that if my partner isn’t open to sharing with me and talking to me about whether or not its right to have an abortion, I would feel that the relationship has failed altogether. I think that I would have a general stance of wanting to keep the child… but at the same time, I’m not completely unreasonable. I have every faith that those would be decisions we could reach together, even if it comes down to me simply respecting her right to the safety and wellness of her own body. I just want to be part of that conversation when it comes, if it ever comes, and know that I was there with her to respond to whatever outcomes. That’s what a true loving relationship is all about. Its the only way these things can really work.

      Agreed. For a lot of men its not about demanding the final say or anything like that (but somehow the ones who do end up as the representation and then its somehow on us to change that image) but its about communication (something that men are often faulted for not engaging in). You can hardly think it would be fair to totally shut a man out of the entire process but then get made at him for not being there or expecting him to just “man up” and do his share. Under those circumstances I’d be mad, and IMO the anger would be quite justified.

  14. zjsimon says:

    This issue (and moreso the comment section trolls it attracts) could be, SHOULD be, irrelevant in all but isolated slums. Every bit of energy spent arguing, pre or post, inpatient forced miscarriage (a better name for abortion, really) could better spent improving existing over the counter prophylactics.

  15. That Guy says:

    I’d like to forestall any arguments that men are disqualified from talking about abortion because men don’t carry babies so will never have to face that choice. If the ability to get pregnant is a prerequisite for entering the debate, then that would leave many women out of the debate as well. To apply the standard fairly would require some kind of fertility test, which seems awfully awkward to me.

    • Men have to carry the financial burden; sure the woman can decide to keep the baby but men should be able to decide if they will pay for it or not. His wallet, his choice.

  16. This issue is quite intellectually stimulating. My initial thoughts are that men should have a voice and my reasoning comes from looking at a general solution.

    If a couple gets pregnant (ruling out involuntary conception) one of four things can happen:

    The man and woman both want to keep the baby.
    •Solution? Both the man and the woman will be expected to raise and care for the being that they are bringing into the world.

    The man wants an abortion and the woman doesn’t want an abortion.
    •Solution? The woman will be expected to raise and care for the being she is deciding to bring into the world. The man will not have any involuntary responcibilities (ex. Child Support), and no rights (ex. Visitation) unless the woman allows it.

    The woman wants an abortion and the man doesn’t want an abortion.
    •Solution? The man will be expected to raise and care for the being he is deciding to bring into the world. The woman will not have any involuntary responcibilities (ex. Child Support), and no rights (ex. Visitation) unless the man allows it.

    The man and woman both want an abortion.
    •Solution? An abortion is granted.

    It seems the most fair set of outcomes to me. But what of the woman and her body? “My body, My choice.” shows us how messy this situation can get, especially in the third example. Should a woman be forced to carry a baby to term if she doesn’t want it?

    Let’s look in to the future. We have the technology to remove a growing fetus from a woman’s body and mature it in an artificial womb. What happens if the woman doesn’t want the baby? She can walk away without having to carry the baby to term. In this example there is no “My body, My choice” problem because we no longer need the woman’s physical body. The man in this situation is not denied his right to have his child even if his partner doesn’t want it.

    Now let’s return to present…we don’t have the luxury of being able to spare a woman’s body. I believe that while against her wishes, a woman should not be able to abort a child conceived with a man if that man intends to keep that child. The reverse is already true, a man cannot force a woman to abort if she is willing to have the baby, however men are denied this right. Should a man’s right to his child be removed because a woman doesn’t want to bear it? My opinion is no. Until women can be seperated from child birth, the reality of the situation is that it is Your (plural) child, Your (plural) choice and both parties need to be heard.

    [I can think of some ways to abuse the system, such as a mother abusing her body to spite the father who didn't agree with the mother's abortion choice, which leads to further intellectually stimulating questions!]

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