A recent TIME magazine article has been getting a good deal of press the last week. The article by Nancy Gibbs, titled 'A Man's Right to Choose?' discusses whether or not a man has the ability to decide not to have a child. If women can choose abortion, the pill, etc., then why can't men definitively say no to an unwanted child?
This whole thing highlights the double standard that many men feel exists in the abortion debate. It's a woman's right to choose: Life or 'Choice'. It's a woman's body, a woman's uterus, a woman has to go through the actual 9 months + labor, and a woman is the one who is supremely inconvenienced if not utterly derailed personally and professionally by the pregnancy. But, what about the guy in all this?
Mel Feit, the Director of the National Center for Men (yes, it's a real organization that 'fights for equal rights' for men), says that they are launching a campaign to have women 'share reproductive rights with men.' It's a project they're calling 'Roe v. Wade...for Men'. So sayeth their website:
More than three decades ago Roe vs. Wade gave women control of their reproductive lives but nothing in the law changed for men. Women can now have sexual intimacy without sacrificing reproductive choice. Women now have the freedom and security to enjoy lovemaking without the fear of forced procreation. Women now have control of their lives after an unplanned conception. But men are routinely forced to give up control, forced to be financially responsible for choices only women are permitted to make, forced to relinquish reproductive choice as the price of intimacy.
Basically the point is that if a woman has an unwanted pregnancy, she has the right to get rid of it. Despite your views of abortion and the sanctity of life, those are the facts of law as they currently are in America. However, think about this: If a man gets a woman pregnant, and she doesn't want to have an abortion, he is automatically financially responsible for that child forever. Whether he wanted the child, the abortion, or not, he has no recourse. He cannot force the woman to have the abortion, but he cannot also absolve himself of the financial obligation.
And I understand the arguments against this notion. It takes two to tango. The man is equally responsible for the creation, so he should be responsible for the life. Blah blah blah... But, it's not always true. The woman gets the choice to opt out, but not the man?
I think there's an obvious and valid point to be made here. If a girl knows her guy doesn't want a baby, or probably can't afford a baby right now, and an accident happens, it should be solely on her if she wants to keep it. If she decides she's ready to be a mother, but he's not ready to be a father, he should get an out, too. Shouldn't he?
Feit argues that within a short window of time after discovering an unplanned pregnancy — he has proposed a month, but thinks a week might even be more appropriate — a man should have the right to terminate his legal and financial obligations to the child. "I'm not talking about fathers opting out of obligations that they've committed to," Feit says. "I mean early in pregnancy, if contraception failed, men should have a choice, and women have a right to know what that choice is as they decide how to proceed."
Still, Feit has been surprised by the response he's gotten so far. "It doesn't break down along traditional gender lines," he says. "We're getting so much support from women." The men divide roughly half and half between those who support what he's doing and those who say essentially "be a man; accept responsibility." "Women seem more supportive, which is very surprising and gratifying. They say maybe this is fair, men should have some say, some choice. I'm getting more support from women than I anticipated." He is the first to say that these are not easy questions. So sometimes just asking them is the right place to start.
So... What do YOU think Rioters? Should a man have an equal right to choose? Or, are guys screwed if the girl decides she wants to keep an accidental child? This doesn't count if the guy was committed to being a father and then decided later he wanted out. This would be, as the article states, an accidental pregnancy at its earliest stages. Comment, tweet, or email your responses to IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com!
Love and Lyte,