Social Question

wildpotato's avatar

What amount of say does the father have over whether the mother of his fetus gets an abortion?

Asked by wildpotato (14903points) October 12th, 2009

1) I’m mostly just wondering if there is a general consensus about this. If you want to air your opinion about whether you think the amount of say the father gets is the right amount or not, that’s welcome too. But please be civil or go away.

2) I’m thinking along the lines of a situation where the mother wants an abortion and the father does not. Let’s say, in this hypothetical, that religious beliefs are similar between the two of them (i.e., that both believe that abortion is a forbidden and damning act, or that both are atheist/agnostic). I add this bit because I think the question is more fair if it’s about personal reasons rather than spiritual lifestyle. If the hypothetical couple has similar beliefs, this factor is nixed.

3) I am not thinking along the lines of a situation where the mother doesn’t want an abortion and the father does. The consensus on this situation seems to be that it’s TS for the dad.

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56 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

Legally, I believe zero.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I don’t believe they have any say at all. At least not in my state. However, I think the law should absolutely be changed. The father made ½ of that baby. He should be allowed to have a say in whether the child should be aborted.

Samurai's avatar

The fetus is 99.99% formed by the mother (with the limbs etc), so I think father should have zero.

Its like saying; Oh I found a bomb that my theory helped create, I have the right to destroy it to prevent utter destruction.

I don’t agree with abortion at all, so I agree the father should take some responsibility.

augustlan's avatar

No say at all, as far as I know.

Haleth's avatar

Legally, in case 2 I don’t think he gets a say. I don’t think this is fair in all cases, but it does rule out potential deadbeat dads who don’t want the child aborted, but won’t help care for it. I would hate to be caught in a situation like that. Not all women get abortions for the right reasons, but we usually have a lot more to lose from having a child. It’s a tough situation. I don’t think there’s any way to come up with a legal solution where everybody wins.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@Samurai You leave me completely speechless…but my mouth is wide open and my jaw has dropped to the floor.

ru2bz46's avatar

As a man, I would want to have a say, but the mother is doing all the work and taking all the risk of carrying the child. I’m glad I’m sterile and won’t have to face this situation personally.

AstroChuck's avatar

@Samurai- “The fetus is 99.99% made up by the mother…”


Samurai's avatar

@AstroChuck 99.99% formed by the mother (with the limbs etc). The fetus is made ½ of the mother and ½ of the father.

rooeytoo's avatar

If I man has a strong moral opposition to abortion, then he should find out before he unzips his pants what the woman’s feelings are on the subject. If they are not similar then he should not take the risk of possible pregnancy because in the end, I feel it is her choice what happens inside her body and I think that is the legal position in most cases as well.

Samurai's avatar

I take that back about the abortion, I wouldn’t agree with it, but if thats what the other person wanted I would go along with it.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Not that my opinion will change the current laws or anything but I still believe men should have some say. Maybe some guys really don’t give a shit about whether the baby is aborted or not. But what about the guys who genuinely care? What about the ones who thought their partner wanted a child just as much as them but decided last minute to abort? That would be pretty unfair for him to have no say. That fetus is the man’s flesh and blood too. Not just the woman’s.

Samurai's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 I would normally agree that neither the mother nor the father has a right to decide, but if the mother has the right to decide the father should have a small affect on the decision as well. In that sense I agree with you. Well, he should already have a small affect on the decision by just negotiating with the mother about the decision.

Zen's avatar

Zero to none. Havin said that, it really depends on the relationship, of course, but it would be good if the mother would listen to what the father has to say.

Bottom line for me, (sadly) though: her body, her choice.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I believe he legally has no say so in the matter which I think is bullshit

Samurai's avatar

The decision should be between the mother and father together, not rights and laws.
In this case the mother is in higher authority because it is here own body.

DarkScribe's avatar

As Zen says, her body and her choice, and I believe that, but I have been in that situation and at that time I stopped the abortion. It was after splitting with my first wife and before meeting my current wife. I was in a what is known now as a “Friends with Benefits” relationship with the woman but I was not the father – the woman involved had left her husband and then discovered that she was pregnant to him.

The end result was a really lovely little girl – I am her Godfather. She completed Uni, married and now in her early thirties has some pretty cute kids of her own. (I helped raise her through the early years.) Her mother (well before her daughter’s birth) was genuinely grateful that I stopped the abortion.

whitenoise's avatar

A fetus growing is in symbiosis with its mother. The mother will function as its home and feeds it and allows it to live. In essence a mother controls the health and live of the fetus. When her body rejects it, the fetus will die. If she gets stone drunk, the fetus will suffer.

For all intents and purposes, from my point of view an in-uterus fetus is part of the mother’s body. She should have a full say in what goes on with that.

Let me illustrate:
If both agree… then fine, but if the mother…
* wants the child and the father does not? Then she should be allowed to carry it.
* does not want the child and the father does? Then she should not be forced to carry it.

whitenoise's avatar

@DarkScribe Yours is a nice illustration of making sure a woman thinks through her choice and makes a sound, concious decision.

But what do you mean by “I stopped the abortion”? Wasn’t she the one that stopped it, after talking to you?

This has nothing to do with the OP’s question, I feel. Good as it was… I think it has to do with making sure that an expectant mother realizes her choice and how something beautiful as life can develop from the most unexpected and sometimes dire circumstances.

DarkScribe's avatar

@whitenoise But what do you mean by “I stopped the abortion”? Wasn’t she the one that stopped it, after talking to you?

No, that didn’t work – she was adamant at the time. We lived in a society when abortion for non medical reasons was still illegal. A friend and myself had a chat to the Doctor who she had found. He agreed not to abort her or refer her to anyone else who could do it.

(It could have been because we walked out with two file drawers of his abortion patient’s files. This was in the days before computer records were common in small businesses and practices.)

rooeytoo's avatar

Seems like the typical aussie bloke thing to do, tell the poor woman what she needs and wants.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rooeytoo Seems like the typical aussie bloke thing to do, tell the poor woman what she needs and wants.

Yep. Almost an Aussie, grow myself a beer belly and learn to belch and I’ll be all the way there.

I knew her well enough to know that it was a reaction to her situation and anger at her ex. It would have eventually destroyed her if she had carried through.

I have also had two other “friends with benefits” who had abortions – one of them mine”. I offered to raise the child, but when that was refused, I didn’t interfere. I wasn’t happy, but I supported her, before during and after.

whitenoise's avatar


Well… in that case I think that this is indeed an illustration how beautiful things can come from poor circumstances. I am not fully sure, what to think of your actions, though. After all, you did it in a time when the abortion as such was illegal and one might say you did the only right thing from a legal point of view.

Personally, I feel still that – understanding legal boundaries – any woman should have the only ultimate say on this matter.

DarkScribe's avatar

@whitenoise Personally, I feel still that – understanding legal boundaries – any woman should have the only ultimate say on this matter.

So do I, but there is another factor, it is an emotional issue, and like suicide, many people who make such a decision, in haste and driven by passion and anger, if prevented are grateful later. I had known this woman for nearly fifteen years before we began a relationship, and I was sure that she would regret it. I was right. If I hadn’t known her so well I would not have interfered.

whitenoise's avatar

I want to share an illustrative story, from the live of a dear friend of mine.

“Mat was in his mid twenties when he returned from military services in former Yugoslavia. He met a nice young girl, about 18 years old, on a skiing trip Mat and I went on. They liked each other and fell in love. After returning home to The Netherlands, they met once more and had sex. It was a hole in one and she became pregnant.

Fast forward: he wanted her to have an abortion and she wanted to keep it. This put an enormous strain on the relationship since he felt betrayed. It also put strain on our friendship, since I was supporting her point of view. In the end their relationship became sour. They lived together in the same house, but he obviously carried a grudge for her betrayal

That continued all the way through, up to her delivering the baby. At that moment, when he first laid eyes on his daughter, Mat became a daddy and he fell in love with his child. All the more painful for his girlfriend who had felt little affection from him. Their relationship couldn’t take that and they broke up. They still have a beautiful daughter, though, that is being loved by both her biological parents that both participate in raising her.”

It is not an easy topic.

jrpowell's avatar

Man the fuck up and take care of the child. There was just a question about suing for child support. That is why it is should be 100% the woman’s choice.

Guys bail, once every man decides to be a man they can have a say.

MacBean's avatar

One of my ex-girlfriends used to like to say, “No uterus, no opinion, asshole.” I really loved that girl.

rooeytoo's avatar

One must accept realistically that abortion is never going to be eliminated from society.

“A friend and myself had a chat to the Doctor who she had found. He agreed not to abort her or refer her to anyone else who could do it.
(It could have been because we walked out with two file drawers of his abortion patient’s files. This was in the days before computer records were common in small businesses and practices.)”

My fear is that when @DarkScribe bullied the doctor, if the doctor then decided it was no longer worth it to jeopardize his life or practice by helping women in need, then how many were forced into back alleys. How many may have bled to death from the old knitting needle practitioners.

DarkScribe's avatar

@rooeytoo My fear is that when @DarkScribe bullied the doctor, if the doctor then decided it was no longer worth it to jeopardize his life or practice by helping women in need, then how many were forced into back alleys

He didn’t, he is still practicing – legally nowadays. Regardless of your fear, I would not have done anything different. My God Daughter is a marvelous human being – a valuable part of society. He lived up to his agreement and so did we – we returned his files. I have no personal stand on the abortion issue – for me any case that I have an interest in is personal, not a matter of principle.

It might amuse you to know that two years later I was arrested for assaulting an anti-abortion protester. He got offensively in the way of one of the other lasses who I mentioned who did have an abortion. I drove her to the clinic, and took her home afterward – detouring via the local Police Station. The protester idiot tried to shove a foetus in a jar into her face – I decked him. The charges were dropped. This was after clinics were legalised.

filmfann's avatar

None at all.
That’s the way it should be.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m not sure how it is legally, but I don’t agree that the father should have no say at all…the assumptions that ‘guys bail’ is incorrect and should be done away with…the assumption that somehow, obviously, the mother will be the more perfect parent for the baby is incorrect and should be done away with…if both parties had sex, both should discuss the consequences…if the pregnant person doesn’t want the child but their partner does, they should consider those feelings…like in any other adoption situation, it is possible to reimburse the mother for all the pregnancy issues (I understand not all issues will be resolved by this) and then take care of the child…I believe that should be an option…if the father doesn’t want to be involved and the mother wants to keep the child, of course she should keep it but not necessarily expect any support from the father as they might have been against the child and yes, should have had a say…I’ve been pregnant, I know what it feels like and what the consequences are…would I ever go through pregnancy to give my child to someone with whom I didn’t want to have a child with? that is very difficult, but it would simply have to be something to consider, in all fairness

casheroo's avatar

Legally, they have no say (as others have stated)

I’d love to know what people think would be the best way to go about it, if the man had a say. Soooo, if the woman wants to keep the baby…and he doesn’t, then what should half of his opinion mean? And what if she wants an abortion and he doesn’t? Can the woman give birth, and give up her legal rights as a parent? Why can’t a guy give up his legal rights as a parent?

I’ve been in the situation of being bullied to have an abortion. Multiple people felt they could decide what was best for my life, aka their lives. People are selfish creatures. When others start getting involved in who gets to do what with their body, you take complete rights away from the person actually carrying the baby.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo however, when I say the father should have a say I do not equate that statement with ‘taking complete rights away from the person actually carrying the baby’

casheroo's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Then what does it mean? Is it just like you want the woman to tell the man?
To me, that could be just as dangerous as making it mandatory to get consent from parents.

tinyfaery's avatar

Zero. Women are not incubators. If you want to force someone into carrying and delivering a child you are going to get a lot of pissed-off women and potentially, a lot of pissed-off children, as a result. You can buy a uterus, it’s called a surrogate. But a child is truly a blessing when a woman is forced into sexual slavery, and made to carry and have a child against her will. Just beautiful.~

ubersiren's avatar

I agree that ultimately the mother should have the final say, but I would really be put off by a woman who didn’t at least consider what the father felt about it.

CMaz's avatar

No say at all…

Unless he has plenty of money. Money changes everything.

wildpotato's avatar

@casheroo The guy can give up his legal rights as a parent -but he still has to pay child support.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@casheroo yes I think the father has the right to be at the very least told that someone they slept with may be aborting a child of theirs – I understand that there are dangerous situations as always and that I am not entirely sure whether or not telling the father can be mandated but in general, barring some sort of violence, she should tell him, yes

oratio's avatar

@Samurai Yes, the mother feeds the child, but a child is not formed by the mother. It forms itself, with the genetic material of the mother and the father.

The woman must have definite say. It is her body. If we start to grow children in tanks, then it would be different.

Samurai's avatar

@oratio Its formed in the sense that all its made up of is from the mother, in other words food.

Haleth's avatar

@Casheroo that’s so wrong, and I’m really sorry that happened to you. It’s one thing for people to weigh in on the decision, but in your case everyone around you really over-stepped their bounds. You’re the one that had to live with the consequences, not anybody else.
@Darkscribe Your situation ended for the best, but because of your “chat” with the doctor you effectively took away the mother’s ability to make her own choice. I can’t imagine how trapped and coerced I would feel in a situation like that, even if I did eventually change my mind and grow to love the child. I would still want it to be my own decision.

I do think there should be some way to give the father more of a say in this matter, but right now the vast majority of single parents are still mothers. Maybe if there was a way for the father to prove that he would help raise the child… but if I were pregnant, I would still feel that I have a lot more to lose than the father does.

tracy_h81's avatar

I think the father should have no say. I agree with MacBean, my uterus my choice. But I’d be happy to let him carry it for 9 months and go through natural labor, just so he can have the full experience. Lets be totally honest here, if men had to have babies there would be no abortion debate.

whitenoise's avatar

I’m afraid that the flag waving anti-abortion-women, would still be waving them then. Make no mistake: it is not (just) men that form the primary opposition to women’s rights.

In most cultures where women’s rights are regarded to be a mere nuisance, women are the primary medium for carrying culture from one generation to the next. Most often it is grandma that enforces the circumcision of her young granddaughter.

Maybe this was somewhat off-topic, forgive me: I was triggered by your remark that I (as a man) find rather painfully out of place.

benjaminlevi's avatar

Why would you ever let a woman make a decision about her own body!?

Poser's avatar

Basically four options:

1. Both parents want the child. No abortion, no issue.
2. Neither parent wants the child. Abortion performed, no issue (well, legally).
3. Mother wants the child, father does not. No abortion performed. Legally, the woman can sue the man for child support.
4. Mother does not want the child, father does. Legally, the woman can obtain an abortion, despite the father’s wishes.

If the man can convince the woman to bear a child she doesn’t want, he must assume all responsibility for said child. He can expect no legal footing for the woman to support the child. The man has no such protection if the woman chooses to bear a child he doesn’t want.

DrMC's avatar

@benjaminlevi I’ve thought about this, does a murder have the right to use his body to pull the trigger?

Freedom to murder. It was our right before civilization came. Might makes right.

Lets have a blood fest, so we can celebrate abortion.

MaryW's avatar

He has no rights only opinions and moral responsibilities. I am not for abortion but no one should have the right to force a woman to kill or be an incubator. If the woman is wanting an abortion it is good for her to talk so she understands the enormity of the situation but it is her baby at this time and her body.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Poser Here’s a suggestion for Option #5: Mother does not want the child; father never finds out that she was pregnant and had an abortion.

To all: So, let’s say that every US state banned abortions…women who desired one could find a way to go to another country. And if every country banned abortions, they would still occur in the “back alleys.” And (going out on a limb here) even if the back alley abortions could be prevented, some women would still seek out a way to end the life of the fetus, which often brings on bodily harm to herself. Even if everyone on Earth had some religious belief that abortions were a mortal sin, I’d bet that they still would take place. Even many religions that are anti-abortion will overlook cases where the mother’s life is endangered and/or the fetus was conceived by rape.

With that said, back to the OP’s question: ” What amount of say does the father have over whether the mother of his fetus gets an abortion?” The answer today is “not much.” Ask us how much say should they have, and you might get a different answer.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer It wouldn’t get a different answer from me, unless the father was able to carry the fetus to term himself.

rooeytoo's avatar

@Dr_Dredd – ga and I would give you 27 more if I could! It really is the most relevant point.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Dr_Dredd and @rooeytoo E-gad! I just re-read what I posted, and I’d do just about anything to erase that last paragraph. And it’s not worth attempting to explain what I meant by it…it’s just semantics and minor at that.

It did invoke a GA from Dr. Dredd though…

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer It was a GA. I just didn’t agree with what you implied. :-)

mcsnazzy's avatar

I woud say the father gets none. The mother could potentially put the child up for adoption because if she doesnt want an abortion, it could be for moral reasons and she is housing the baby.

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