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Monday, December 28, 2009

Right of abortion

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At the very beginning of this blog, I had raised a question which I deferred dealing with so far. Question was about role of father in abortion of child. Surprisingly, this matter receives much less attention than feminine version of the same question.

I had agreed, and do now as well, that parents of child are best people on Earth to decide fate of unborn foetus. No one (calling themselves pro-choice, pro-life, anti-abortion, anti-life, …) has any business interfering in couple’s decision to whether to bring out the person they will be totally responsible for in the world and who will change their lives irrevocably. However, decision to abort or not remains exclusive maternal prerogative in most parts of the world, including India and United States. Unfair part in this process is whether someone can be punished for not doing what he cannot do. If father cannot bear a child, does he not have any say in whether he wants the child or not?

First case is when father wants a child but mother doesn’t: currently, he cannot stop mother from aborting the baby. If father is willing to bear responsibility of raising the child, what right mother has of depriving man of his child? Trauma for man in such cases cannot be understated in line of argument that only mothers love their children more than fathers ever could. Emotional investment and love of fathers towards their offspring is question which requires mere perfunctory glance at the world around us to answer. Can mother be required to go through whole pregnancy and pain of childbirth unwillingly? Unfortunately, she has too, for there is no alternative. Whose pain and loss is more: a father deprived of his baby or a mother bearing pain for nine months? I don’t have an answer but I feel it’s former. Of course, it goes without saying that this should not apply in pregnancy out of non-consensual sex and father must bear all the cost and financial loss to mother in giving him his child.

Second case is when father doesn’t want a child but mother does: currently, he cannot force mother to abort the baby. Which seems right until we note that he will still be legally responsible for providing child support and financial help. This, naturally, isn’t fair on father again. Excepting forced assault, consensual relationship is entered in by both partner knowing fully well consequences of the same. A mother cannot demand support from unwilling father if such unwillingness is expressed prior to birth and during the period when mother can undergo safe abortion. Then mother will be free to decide to continue with the pregnancy on her own or terminate it.

Law, as it stands, gives all the responsibilities to father without him having any say at all in reproductive rights over his unborn baby. Let alone giving father his due right, a small step such as spousal notification by mother about her decision to abort itself is hotly protested against even though there seems be slight majority support for it.