A Father's Right to Choose

What reproductive rights do fathers have?


Dr. Eric Wallace of FJM Blog asks a question often overlooked on the reproductive rights' landscape: What rights and say does a father have in the life or death of his unborn child? Wallace writes:

"In many ways, the parental rights of expectant fathers are blatantly ignored and fathers are, in a court of law, unable to voice their opinion in regard to childbirth.

A fundamental assumption leading to the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was that because women are biologically tied to the birth process, they should therefore bear all responsibility in deciding the life or death of their children. The reason for this perspective is straightforward: Roe v. Wade rejected the idea that another person controlled a woman’s body. On the one hand, this shattered patriarchal stereotypes that regarded women as little more than vessels. Plainly, that is a good thing. But in the continued fight for equality, various feminist groups have refused to acknowledge the basic human rights of the co-equal contributors to pregnancy: the unborn child and the father. Plainly, that is a bad thing."

He goes on to say:

"Countless men are faced with the same nightmare of having no voice in the execution of their children. “Men’s rights are trampled on all the time when it comes to reproductive rights,” said Dianna Thompson, executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. It is time to fight back, to force our government to reevaluate the logic of treating men as little more than fertilizers.  This case raises serious questions about a father’s say in the life of his own child, as well as the extent of the government’s duty to help project human rights and encourage the family unit. Sadly, these profound questions fall by the wayside in a society that worships at the golden calf of individual choice, and relegates the voice of fathers and unborn babies to the margin.

The outcome of the Stachokus case and other similar cases points to a need to widen the consideration of abortion beyond just the rights of the mother to the rights of fathers and  — of central importance – the unborn child. Only by placing abortion within its proper context will we get a better understanding of its full implications."

Does Wallace's assertion hold water? Should the rights of fathers be given more consideration in reproductive matters?