Before we jump into the morality and start to discuss the “right” of a woman to get an abortion let’s accept the fact that it is now the law of the land. Let’s add the other “reproductive rights” of women to the discussion also. She has the right of abstinence, to use birth control of her choosing prior to sex, the “morning after” pill the next day, the right to carry a pregnancy to term, the right to abandon the baby in a “safe” location without question, the right to place it for adoption, and no obligation to inform the father of any of her decisions.
And of men’s reproductive rights? Abstinence, condoms, and trust in your partner to be telling the truth about her reproductive status. As the NYS Court of Appeals has ruled, “a man has no right to reproduction post ejaculation”. This unequal application of rights and responsibilities of many is codified in judicial opinion. This is evidenced in multiple court decisions which held men FINANCIALLY responsible for children even where the female sabotaged the condom by putting pin holes in it, “stole” his sperm from a discarded condom or other means, and even when it is taken by means of rape such as a recent case shows us, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/02/statutory-rape-victim-child-support/14953965/. Men who claim they do not want the child of an unintended pregnancy are held responsible anyway, indeed, are even labelled ‘deadbeats” for not “standing up” and accepting paternity.
Recently a bill in the OK legislature has brought the issue of equal rights in reproductive choices to the forefront as the bill would require the approval of the father before a woman is allowed an abortion. There was an immediate backlash from the left leaning women’s groups, the shout of “my body, my choice” resonating with posts spread all over social media to awake “women” to fight this “injustice”(http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2017/0214/Oklahoma-lawmakers-debate-bill-requiring-men-s-permission-for-abortion-video?cmpid=FB.).
I felt compelled to post on the CSM Article an opposing view in the form of a question: Do men have no reproductive rights? We seem to be able to find a father when she wants child support. So if a man says he doesn’t want to pay for a child of an unwanted pregnancy he is a “deadbeat” but if a women wants to abort that child she is exercising her rights? A woman who has a child against a mans wishes is again exercising her rights, but a man who would ask that the pregnancy give him the child he wants he is then “forcing” her? So we’ll just give all reproductive rights to women and disregard that their choices affect the father, the child, and society at large? And can we say anything about responsibility for these “unwanted” pregnancies when women have so many means of birth control at their disposal?
In addition to the “my body, my choice” and the “women carry the baby” what also followed was a host of “men be responsible” comments, the “HE got HER pregnant” perspective which, ironically, failed to see the irresponsibility of women who find themselves in need of an abortion. The argument was framed around “her rights” and “his responsibilities” and when pressed both sides of the argument dismissed a man’s reproductive rights as ending at ejaculation, where his responsibility begins for her choice.
Not a single person seems to want to address the issue of how can we say men and women have equal rights when we deny men rights which woman have. Lost also in the discussion is RESPONSIBILITY for the decisions. For we see a woman can give away her financial responsibility by giving the child up for adoption or even dropping it off anonymously. A man suffering an unintended pregnancy is forced to pay for her decision. Her choice is his being forced to 21 years of income execution, the sacrificing of his body at work without compensation. A poor woman witt a child gets welfare, a poor man with a child gets a garnished.
Perhaps the worst part of the denial of men’s reproductive rights is the fact that most men don’t walk away from the responsibility of her choice. Most are like Nick Olivas, our rape victim. At 14 he was statutorily raped by a 20 year old. Fast forward 6 years and Olivas learns he has a 6 year old child as he is served with child support papers demanding payments from the time of the child’s birth, even though he was not old enough to consent and was never informed of the existence of the child and allowed to decide to be a part of the child’s life.
Now, at 24 Olivas is trying to be a part of his child’s life stating, “I can’t leave her out there. She deserves a Dad”. Here he’s finding out that the state isn’t concerned with a fathers emotional support and raising his children for they consider the financial support as separate from access. And as he is sure to find out, there are a multitude of means to collect, even incarceration into a debtor prison if he can’t pay. But there are no avenues to help him with, much less guarantee, his time and emotional support for his child.
And what of a child’s rights? Is there no right to both parents? In going after Olivas for financial support the state says they are “doing it for the child”. Really? So why didn’t the state demand to know the father up front? Isn’t a child the product of both parents and doesn’t a child have a right to know both sides of their family tree and both heritages? Can someone from the state explain how it was in the child’s interest to be denied her father, his love and support, for 6 years, and then to collect retro dollars on her behalf? I’m waiting for that response? Why is a fathers dollars more important than his love and nurture?
In arguing for his legislation, Rep. Justin Humphrey stated he believes excluding the man out of these decisions is adding to the break down of society. Once again a man’s rights and a child’s rights are lost in the discussion and the requirement for the mother to notify the doctor of the child’s father was more to make him responsible than to protect his rights. His bill did do one thing, it exempted rape from the notification requirement, something we do not do for boys who are raped.
The bill was described as being opposed by “reproductive rights advocates” on unconstitutional grounds. The regional director of planned parenthood stated that “Oklahoma should trust women to make the choices that are best for them”. I suspect the choices are made easier when others bear the responsibility for your choices but have no choice themselves. The article should clarify that the advocates are for a woman’s reproductive choices without regard for the father, child, or society.
But as I read the U.S. Constitution I see it guarantees God given rights to every individual equally. And so I close with the question, What of men’s EQUAL right to reproductive choice?