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I am not Pro-Life and I am also not Pro-Choice. And, though my stance on the subject is not defined in terms clearly enough to choose a side on this debate, I do have a singular belief that rings true on the issue. The act of abortion as it now stands is completely unfair to prospective fathers.
This article was not written in an attempt to convince people to stop having abortions nor was it written to encourage people to have unplanned children. There is no stand on a moral high ground that was meant to shame the people who decide abortion is the best option for them or to praise those that decide to keep the unborn child despite difficult personal situations. This is just an attempt to explain exactly what is wrong with abortion from the male point of view.
Let me start by exempting the one big outlier in abortion, rape. If a woman was the victim of sexual assault, then she should have the complete and sole right to decide if she wants to abort her assailant’s child. No person should be forced into sex with another regardless of gender, and no woman should be forced to carry their abuser’s child. Furthermore, no criminal should have any extension of power over their victim, and the emotional and physical stress that is caused by being raped and the physical toll of carrying a child should never be forced upon any woman.
However, in consensual, intimate relationships, whether the intimacy is purely physical or both sexual and emotional, men are undeservedly devoid of power when it comes to abortion. Once a couple has become pregnant, only the woman has the right to decide whether a child is going to be born or be aborted. The idea of “choice” with regards to abortion sounds so simple and appropriate. A woman, who has to carry the child for nine months, should decide whether she can handle the burden of bearing and caring for the child in her womb. But, the pro-choice enthusiasts ultimately disregard the needs and desires of the father of the unborn child without ever listening to him. The choice to have or abort a baby rests in the hands of one person when the decision to make the child was made by two people. This practice is unfair and deplorable. Two people made a decision to sleep together. Two people failed to properly use contraception to prevent pregnancy. And most essential to my point, two people collectively created a new life.
If two people were necessary to create a baby, it seems that both partners should have some input into the future of that child. However, women hold all the power once a child has been conceived. Women decide whether a man who wants to be a dad will lose that chance at fatherhood, and conversely they decide if a man who is not ready to have a child will become a father. The power to kill a fetus holds an abundance of authority over a man’s life. Becoming a dad is one of the most challenging and rewarding endeavors in a man’s life, and many men relish the opportunity to shoulder that responsibility. But the possibility of being someone’s father can be crushed by a woman who is not ready to become a mother. Any and every man can be denied his parental right by the simple selfish act of a woman choosing to go through with an abortion without his consent. And, the decision to have a child can be equally as devastating to a man. An hour of fun (If we are being honest, 10-20 minutes of fun) can lead to 18 years of child support payments for a guy, because in most states women are awarded primary custody until proven to be unfit parents. 20-40% of a man’s earnings can be garnished to pay for a child that he could not afford, was too immature to raise, or simply did not want for personal reasons (and this disregards the detrimental emotional effect that an absent father has on the child). Responsible fathers have all the same financial culpability and the added emotional accountability to this child that that they not ready to father. From the moment that the first pregnancy test reads positive, all the power in a relationship shifts to the lady. With the inherent charge of deciding the fate of the fetus, she also is suddenly in control of the life of her sex partner. And, that is unjust.
I do not have a solution that would make the issue of abortion less polarizing to the general public. Nor do I know how to make the decision of whether or not to have an abortion more equitable between the sexes. I do not know that any endowment of authority over abortion that is given to men would not make the process of aborting a baby any easier for women or any fairer for men. But, the lack of a solution to the inequalities of abortion does not mean that they should continue to be ignored. And, a discourse about the subject is a step in the right direction. Maybe the law could require the signatures of both of the prospective parents of the unborn baby for an abortion to be allowed. Or more conceivably, the judicial system could forage into different custody laws, because women who have to pay child support rather than receive it may be more apt to weigh their stances on abortion more diligently. Whatever the course of action though, men need more rights when the future of their child and the quality of the rest of their lives are lying in the hands of someone else.