The debate about a Father"s rights regarding abortion seldom receives much media attention. Many men, trying to convince the mother of their baby not to have an abortion, come to feel that when it comes to reproductive rights, men are denied any rights at all.
Abortion and father's rights
While a woman can terminate her parental rights and responsibilities by having an abortion, men complain that, apart from choosing whether or not to impregnate a woman, they have no reproductive rights.
- Many men feel as though they have been disenfranchised by not being allowed to have a say in whether or not the woman has an abortion or a child.
- Stripping men of a fundamental right may have intruded on men's basic sense of familial obligation.
- Denying men "reproductive rights" is humiliating, oppressive and can be offensive.
- Many men believe they should legally have an equal say with the mother in any decision relating to abortion.
After a 2002 Court ruling in the U.S., journalist Dahlia Lithwick wrote in an article Dad"s Sad, Mad: Too Bad:
According to the law, a husband will be able to seek legal assistance if his wife has an abortion without notifying him.
The law states that both husband and wife should share same responsibility in family planning, so neither side should enjoy the sole right on whether to give birth to a baby. This is the first time that a man"s right in relation to a birth has been defined in legislation.
The 39th Article of the law also forbids government staff members from invading citizen"s "personal freedom, possessions and other rights," in carrying out family planning missions. Opponents to abortion say that only time will tell whether the Chinese government upholds this promise.
The law was approved at the 25th Session of the Standing Committee of the Ninth National People"s Congress after three years of discussion and revision.
As contraceptives are readily available, Roberts considers that women are better able to avoid pregnancy than if they left birth control up to the male. In his article he cites Carol Gilligan"s famous study, In a Different Voice, which found that in one-third of cases, the father influenced the woman"s decision to get the abortion.
"But citing this and similar studies reverses the argument. If the decision to get an abortion rests with the father one-third of the time, then clearly, the woman has made the decision in the other two-thirds of the cases.
So the myth that women get an abortion because of coercion by marauding sexual predators is an urban legend that serves to shield us from one simple fact: abortion is by and large a female-dominated decision."
Although the foetus inherits half of its genetic material from the father, women, married or not, have no duty to consult with, or even inform the father about the abortion. And this is exactly what happens much of the time. Many fathers believe that they have been biologically disenfranchised.
Previous generations were taught that rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. Men today, having been initially denied any responsibility in the abortion issue, have, in many cases, chosen to deny any responsibility once a child is born.
The New Zealand Equality Education FoundationThe New Zealand Equality Education Foundation (NZEEF) - which is concerned with men"s rights and instances of injustice towards men - believes that everyone has the right to equal enforcement, application, and due process of the law, and should enjoy equal access to the law.
In particular, they believe that men and women should have either equal, or equivalent, rights and responsibilities. They say that they "will campaign to abolish double standards in areas such as the Law, Education, and the Media."
They argue that men should be allowed to "terminate their parental rights and responsibilities, just as a woman can unilaterally, at present. A woman can terminate her parental rights and responsibilities unilaterally, by having an abortion. If women did not have this unilateral reproductive "choice", on the other hand, then men should not have one either."
NZEEF point out that unplanned parenthood can equally disrupt a man"s life. "It can disrupt his education, it disrupts his mental health, and it often disrupts his entire family life.... Paternity, or additional offspring, may force upon the man a distressful life and future. Psychological harm and heartbreak may result. Mental and physical health may be taxed."
They believe that "denying men reproductive rights is humiliating, oppressive, offensive to the basic principles of human dignity. The decision as to whether or not a particular man will terminate his parental rights and responsibilities is a decision that can be made by that man only. Women or men who trick their partners into involuntary parenthood should be prosecuted and punished by the law."
Under number 17. Choice for Men II (Abortion) they point out that in any decision relating to abortion, " the father"s wishes should have equal status with the mother"s wishes, and both parents tend to have an equal financial, moral and legal responsibility for any child that is born." They feel that any abortion consent form should need to be signed by both natural parents. If this is not the done, then the father should have the right to " terminate their parental rights and responsibilities."
In conclusion, NZEEF consider abortion to be the "grossest form of human rights violation on the planet, and is yet another way that women can issue a contract to kill with impunity."
Read also "Men as victims"