Posted by: rmbrowning | May 17, 2009

Abortion – What about the men?

I’ve read a lot of opinions on abortion I’ve disagreed with in the last week or so but one statement in particular irked me.

“It’s a women’s health issue and it’s nobody else’s business other than the woman’s.” – Fiona Robertson

This sentiment seems to be fairly common (also seen as “my body, my choice” slogans) and I disagree with it on a number of levels (though I’ll only address one). This way of thinking totally ignores men. While we may not have the same experience as the woman, it undoubtedly affects men too.

Hypothetically, if I get a woman pregnant I’ve provided half the genes and therefore it should be equally my business. If the woman decides to continue with the pregnancy I would be liable for child support even if I didn’t want the child. I agree that this is good practice because I should be responsible for my actions. Conversely though, if the woman decides to terminate the pregnancy and I want the child, suddenly nobody wants my input. If I wanted the child and it was terminated I could very well experience grief, depression, anger, helplessness and resentment.

There’s only one word to describe this situation: unjust.



  1. Agreed! Of course, some would point to rape as a case where the man is irrelevant, and whilst I see the point, I’d say that rape is actually just another example underlining the bigger more obvious truth that “the abortion issue” is a sub-issue of the sexuality issue. Women and men needing to respect their own bodies and respect the bodies of others.

  2. Hey Ryan, didn’t know you had the sort of pseudo-blog setup thing going, kudos and all. Its interesting what your saying since it has been a concern as a young guy what say i would have in pregnancy, shamefully I’ll admit that the concerns have usually been worrying if I’ll ever have to support someone else at such an early age, I like the little financial responsibility I have now and would like to keep it that way for a while.

    But for the case where any women would decide to sneak in a bit of pregnancy behind my back, I would probably have to ask why the state isn’t getting involved. Its 2009 and family structure isn’t what it used to be (not necessarily a bad thing), single parent families are legitimate yet for some reason the state won’t support them as such, insistent on passing the buck they are easy to point fingers at where financial support should come from (due to the NZ government’s past and prevailing love affair with the nuclear family structure). If a women want’s to have a child without a father then they should be entitled to support appropriate for their position just as a two parent family should.

    With regards to the role of men in the decision for abortion. to totally disregard the right to life as a separate argument. Just as it may be considered an unjustified burden for someone to financially support a child for 18 year as a result of someone else’s desire and choice, it may be considered another unnecessary burden for anyone to go through pregnancy on the desire and choice of another. This is the situation which we will never have a full understanding or appreciation of, but being pregnant and bloated for 9 months with all the accompanying hormonal and physiological changes and financial implications that occur, it seems like a heavy job that may probably outweigh any grief or depression a man may feel about the situation. Trying to think of something remotely comparable if you were forced to donate part of your liver just because it would avoid harm to others you would be reasonable to say no because it’s your body and you have your own welfare to worry about too.

    Lastly, and this is disregarding once again the argument on IVF and test tube babies. But there are alternatives to men having children, medical technology has provided alot and surrogate mothers aren’t science fiction, besides which adoption is also a worthwhile alternative (but whether you would have much chance as a single father I don’t know).

    Its an interesting topic to talk about and I’ll be sure to take a look at your others. Spread the peace like butter, spreadable butter that is. Cyas

  3. “Hypothetically, if I get a woman pregnant I’ve provided half the genes and therefore it should be equally my business. “

    I agree. This only makes sense.

    “Conversely though, if the woman decides to terminate the pregnancy and I want the child, suddenly nobody wants my input.”

    This is where the extremeist feminists call pro-life men “anti-choice” and sexist.

    The irony is that I hear some of them say “You don’t deserve an opinion because you’re just the sperm-doner.” — And now who’s sexist?

  4. […] have almost no reproductive rights in comparison to women, I’ve already talked about this elsewhere and don’t intend to spend a great deal of time on this. As it is though, men only have the […]

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