Reproductive Choice of Men and Women

Making Fatherhood a Choice

U.S.A. by Paul C. Robbins, Ph.D. January 5, 2006

Should men have the same reproductive rights as women?

In a recent column, feminist Ellen Goodman answers this question in the negative, writing "Some men protest that they are left with no rights and all the bills. But when push comes to shove, one of two people has to make the decision. Those decisions belong to the one who will bear the child." For Goodman, reproductive rights are only for humans with the right genitalia. (Such a position makes you wonder what she thinks about voting rights--but I digress.)

If the woman alone makes the decision to continue or not continue a pregnancy, should not the woman alone be held responsible for the consequences of her decision? Why should a man be held responsible for a decision he did not make? As former NOW President Karen DeCrow once opined, independent women making independent decisions should not expect men to finance those decisions.

In fact, men are becoming increasingly restive under a system of reproductive laws that gives them responsibilities without the concomitant rights.

Consider this: today a mother can unilaterally abort the child, place the child for adoption, or abandon the child in a "safe haven," all without the father's knowledge or consent. All these actions end the father's rights and responsibilities for the child, even if he wants the child. Read More ..

From the Canadian Children's Rights Council's White Paper on the Future of Reproductive Rights and the  Responsibilities of Women and Men:

Understanding the choice to be a parent and the effect the Men's Pro-Choice movement will have on children's rights

In Canada, only women have the choice to determine whether or not they will become a parent if they become pregnant. If the woman chooses to give birth, she may abandon the baby to be adopted.

Pro-Choice for Men is about the same issue, but from the man's perspective: a man's right to become or not become a parent when a woman becomes pregnant.

If a woman becomes pregnant, she has the sole right to continue or terminate the pregnancy by abortion. Her boyfriend / life-partner / common law husband / married husband has no right to even know she is or was pregnant.

Court Challenges

There have been unsuccessful court cases in the United States in which the boyfriend of the pregnant woman asked the court to force her to carry the fetus to term and birth. The man wanted to solely raise the child not wanted by the mother.

There have also been unsuccessful court cases where the man who impregnated the woman tried to force her to have an abortion because he didn't want to be a father.

"Justice therefore dictates that if a woman makes a unilateral decision to bring 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. Or, put another way, autonomous women making independent decisions about their lives should not expect men to finance their choice." --

Karen DeCrow, former NOW President ( National Organisation for Women, U.S.A.)